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‘T-Shirt Gate’ Cleared Up, Oscar’s Now An MMA Fan, Pay-Per-View Numbers Promising?

Oscar De La Hoya At Affliction Day of Reckoning
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It appears “T-Shirt Gate”—what Golden Boy affectionately refers to the mess Larry Merchant created—has finally been cleared up. Sherdog’s Loretta Hunt got to the bottom of the confusion, and discovered there was some miscommunication between Mr. Merchant and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.

Here’s Schaefer and Golden Boy’s Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Binkow’s explanations.

“Larry had asked me at the weigh-ins why Oscar was not coming [to the boxing event], and I told him, ‘Look our partners at Affliction made an over $5 million commitment to the event and it would be right if Oscar just dumped it.’ I think he took that and put the Merchant twist on it and it came out the way it came out.”

“I know Larry and he is a nice guy and I’m sure he didn’t want to cause any issues,” said Schaefer. “The fact is Oscar is now really ticked off, because Oscar didn’t make a penny, and, in fact, paid for his own expenses [to attend the show].”

“Money has not exchanged hands,” added Golden Boy’s Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Binkow on Tuesday. “We’re partners in the deal. We get paid as the promotion gets paid. We’re tied in with the revenue side. There was a misunderstanding about five million bucks.”

And Larry admitting he screwed up.

“The $5 million was the number thrown out. There was not a discussion on how that precisely was allocated or how it was branded. Is it a little bit glib or short-handed to say that Golden Boy got $5 million and Oscar had to be there? Yeah. Yeah. I’m on television and I’m trying to tell a story as tightly as I can.”

This still doesn’t explain Sam Caplan’s report of a six-figure fee paid to Golden Boy, but honestly, if Golden Boy’s involvement cost Affliction a few extra hundred grand, it was probably worth it.

Moving on, the $5 million question has brought the details of Affliction’s partnership with Golden Boy to light. However, it sounds like the partners aren’t exactly on the same page about what their individual responsibilities are. Here’s Golden Boy’s understanding.

Schaefer said an agreement was hashed out in November where Affliction would underwrite all costs for a hybrid boxing-MMA event on Jan. 24; while Golden Boy would be responsible for the operations, including fighter contracts, interaction with the athletic commission, cutting pay-per-view and additional distribution deals, and marketing. Even when the two entities opted not to cross-promote the two sports and the Jan. 24 event morphed into a MMA-only attraction, Golden Boy still pledged its support as a business partner.

And here’s Tom Atencio claiming that’s not accurate.

MMAInsider: Is the characterization that Golden Boy does logistics, runs the show, deals with athletic commissions, and Affliction finances the fighter purses, is that accurate?
Atencio: No, that’s not accurate. There’s definitely things they do, there’s things that we’re learning, and that’s why we brought them on board. Things that they’re going to have expertise on that we’re just learning.
MMAInsider: How does this partnership work, then?
Atencio: They’re handling the back end, the deals, the negotiations when it comes to things like Showtime, and pay per view, and we’re doing the marketing — what we do well. The matchmaking we do because they come from the boxing industry. If we start doing boxing shows, they’ll handle the matchmaking for the boxing.

What you were you expecting? For them to actually know what the other is doing? You obviously missed Atencio and Trump’s Michael Cohen contradict each other on a regular basis last year.

While “running like a well oiled machine” isn’t a phrase we’ll likely be using to describe Affliction-Golden Boy-Trump-M-1 partnership in the near future, there is some positive news coming out of all this.

Oscar De La Hoya is now a MMA fan because of the experience he had at “Day of Reckoning.”

“I actually saw Oscar later on that night and we compared notes,” said Schaefer. “He was so excited. He said, ‘The atmosphere, the venue, the fights were all great fights –- it was just amazing. I’m an MMA fan.’”

It may not seem like it on the surface, but it’s a pretty big deal that Oscar liked it. Since he does, he’ll probably be a lot more inclined to continue backing something he actually believes in, especially if the numbers make it a difficult decision.

And if you can believe this, and maybe you shouldn’t, but according to Schaefer, the preliminary pay-per-view numbers look promising. Apparently, promising enough to where Golden Boy has already started discussing the next event, and for Schaefer to say this.

“We are planning on doing exactly what we do in boxing, where we really revolutionized the sport where we empowered fighters… we made the commitment to the athlete that they will make the most money with us. Monopolies are here to be broken up and we will take them on.”

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