MSG Rep Denies Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. Canceled Due to Ticket Sales

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 5, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 12: Jake Paul answers questions from the media during a press conference at Madison Square Garden on July 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Jake Paul (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

A representative for Madison Square Garden denied the boxing card headlined by YouTube star Jake Paul and Hasim Rahman Jr., which was scheduled to take place at the arena on Saturday, was canceled because of poor ticket sales.

"To be clear, sales were strong heading into fight week—the cancellation was not based on ticket sales," the rep told Mike Heck of MMA Fighting on Thursday. "This fight was projected to be in the top 10 of highest grossing boxing events at MSG in the past 15 years."

Speculation about the reasoning for the cancellation began when UFC president Dana White spoke about the issue at a UFC 277 press conference last weekend.

"I think they sold under a million dollars in tickets, and it costs $500,000 to turn the f--king lights on at MSG," White told reporters. "That's what I think. Not to mention hotel rooms in New York and transportation and everything else is very expensive."

He also took a shot at Nakisa Bidarian, Paul's business partner and a former UFC employee.

"I will say this, just because you were an accountant here doesn't mean you know what the f--k goes on here," White said. "It doesn't mean you can run a fight promotion company."

Paul's company, Most Valuable Promotions, previously stated calling off the fight was a result of Rahman being unable to reach the contractually agreed upon weight of 200 pounds or a compromise of 205 pounds offered by Paul, according to ESPN's Marc Raimondi.

"MVP and Jake Paul will not reward someone that has conducted themselves in such a deceiving and calculated manner," the statement said.

Rahman's camp appeared to confirm that was the reason for the cancellation, saying the best they could offer was 215 pounds, and the 31-year-old boxer questioned why Paul wasn't willing to increase the weight when they previously sparred at 230 pounds, per Raimondi.

"If you beat me up while I was 230, what's the problem fighting me at 215?" Rahman said. "What's the problem fighting me at 210? It's clearly them not wanting to fight. It's not me pulling out of the fight."

Rahman, who owns a 12-1 career record, accepted the bout on short notice after Tommy Fury withdrew in early July because of travel issues.

Meanwhile, Most Valuable Promotions provided a statement to Jack Figg of The Sun saying the company is "evaluating multiple opponents for Jake Paul to return in October."

Paul has won the first five fights of his pro career with two victories over former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley along with triumphs against former MMA fighter Ben Askren, former NBA guard Nate Robinson and fellow YouTuber Ali "AnEsonGib" Al-Fakri.