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I received a press release this week from a new London-based outfit called Disrupt Promotions that made a lot of boasts and proclamations.
I wish them luck but been there done that with new entities popping up out of nowhere and arrogantly claiming they’re going to “revolutionize” boxing and more or less reinvent the wheel.
It doesn’t work like that. First off, boxing doesn’t need revolutionizing. Does it need reform in some areas? Obviously. Definitely.
It also needs the best fights to be made more regularly and the best fighters to be more active. Those two things would solve a lot of boxing’s issues, but by no means does it need some sort of dramatic overhaul these newbies are suggesting.
Here’s a little of what was in the release from Disrupt Promotions, which is supposedly acquiring the remnants of Probellum, which is now done after making its own set of big boasts before it went on a signing binge and made “strategic alliances” with promoters all over the globe when it was founded but is now gone with the wind only 14 months after putting on its first show in December 2021.
“The company intends to be disruptive by revolutionising and modernising sports in order to enhance entertainment value and stakeholder worth,” the Disrupt release said.
A little more from the release:
“Disrupt Promotions is in advanced discussions with numerous acquisition targets, fighters, media outlets, strategically aligned businesses and sponsors in order to enable it to move at a rapid pace with its expansion plans.
“The company will also have a long term strategy of developing fighters from grassroots level in under-developed regions such as Africa and Eastern Europe where the opportunities for fighters to grow and progress has traditionally been very limited, while also providing a platform from which athletes globally are able to develop and flourish. From this, we intend to cultivate a world class stable of fighters to contend for world titles in 2023, 2024 and beyond. … The company will be making a series of announcements over the coming months and year as the contracts with fighters, media, sponsors, key management and venues crystalise.”
Further, it added, “Disrupt will unify boxing and guide it into the 21st century, while becoming the dominant player in the space, the shaper of the narrative and the consistent voice which the global fan base can rely on.”
That last part in particular literally made laugh when I read it (and not only because we are already well into the 21st century) because I have seen this kind of hubris a million times. Somebody comes into boxing — a business that has no barrier of entry — with a big checkbook (or supposed big checkbook) making a lot of promises, claiming they will “revolutionize” the sport and that they will “ensure the biggest fights are made” only to quickly fail and suddenly disappear, usually with a trail of unpaid bills.
The promises made by Disrupt are so utterly cliché it’s hard to take them seriously. Let them prove me wrong, but every promoter who has ever tried to blast its way into boxing instead of first learning the ropes and building up a company makes the same nonsensical assertions.
None have yet to actually work except perhaps Premier Boxing Champions, which has had modest success thanks to support from Showtime (and from a Fox deal that was not renewed) but whose initial gambit of using hundreds of millions of dollars of hedge fund money to buy time on multiple networks and sign a million fighters in an attempt to put everyone else out of business failed spectacularly.
Like I said, I wish Disrupt good luck, but the name alone already irritates me. The boasts reminded me of something I have heard through the years from Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who has been at the top of the boxing promotional food chain for nearly 60 years and has seen more fly-by-night operations creep in and out of the sport than he can probably remember. As Arum likes to say, the beaches of boxing are strewn with bleached bones.
Here are just a few of the entities in my time of covering boxing (23 years next month) that came into the sport with fat checkbooks (or the illusion of one) and grand plans — a few of which had some initial success but could not sustain it or keep up with the bills — but were soon gone and became merely another addition to the rotting pile of bleached bones:
Ring City USA
Rock Nation Sports
World Boxing Super Series
Iron Mike Productions
Real Deal Promotions
Sycuan Ringside Promotions
I could go on, but now that you’ve read that list, please remember one thing: Disruption is usually temporary.
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Is it April 1st already?
I find it wonderful that boxing which anseres to no one allows all money men into boxing. That is so thoughtful of other boxing promoters. They keep such an open mind when it comes to new money showing up at their door. They (new promoters) made no brazen promises really other then talking about going around the world to get fighters. Nothing specific. If i missed someting specific someone will point it out. Promoters are a lot like fighters they show up talk it up and then if they have anything to offer they give the fans something to get hyped up about, be it a fight a new face in the ring whatever. High prices low level fighters on PPV cards being pushed by promoters who present themselves as promoters and those that pretend to be just commentators are the real problem not some press realease to test the waters. Drugs being used by fighters and protected by lying promoters full of greed these are poison to boxing not some new group of money men. Manipulating fans into believing that some part of boxing such as a PPV event or any boxing event is so damn important when it is so much of nothing then repeating the lie is what is dangerous to boxing. Boxing is never held to any standard at all. The only truth to boxing is the man in the ring. He carries boxing he gets the fans fired up not the money men or promoters. Who controls boxing ? The fans control boxing they just have not realized there power or chose to use that power as of yet.
Let any promoter show up and put on good solid fights fights that lead to more fights and they will be welcome. Give the fights at a decent price, make boxing and fighters more available to all fans. Do some of these simple things and the fans will support it. Recongnize that fans are as important as the money men. Because see fight fans are the money men in boxing. Without our money our eyes on the fights there would be no fights or fighters in the ring. Fight fans are what taxes are to politicians we pay our taxes and they act like it is their money but it is not it is ours. Same with boxing promoters they pretend they are driving boxing but no the fan drives boxing.