By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Top Rank's CEO, Bob Arum, sent a strong message to the MGM Grand during Wednesday's final press conference for the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley HBO Pay-Per-View rematch, which takes place at the venue on Saturday night.
Arum has been furious over the venue's heavy display of promotional items related to the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana Showtime Pay-Per-View on May 3rd.
During the end of the press conference, with a stunned Richard Sturm [President of MGM Grand Entertainment] sitting right beside the podium, Arum unleashed his fury.
"I'm not going to say it....the hell with it - I know the Venetian would never make a mistake like this, they knew what fight was scheduled in three or four days and they wouldn't have a 12-1 fight all over the building that's going to take place in three weeks from next Saturday. That's why one company makes a billion dollars a quarter and the other hustles to pay it's debt [referring to the MGM]. There it is, say it like it is," Arum said to a stunned crowd.
Arum's fury paid off, as the MGM removed the majority of the Mayweather-Maidana promotional items - as of Thursday morning - and replaced them with promotional items related to the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch.
While Arum is not planning to promote an event at the MGM in the near future, he certainly doesn't rule out an eventual return to the venue.
Arum told BoxingScene.com that nobody from the MGM has apologized or taken responsibility for the fiasco.
"They don't apologize. You have to understand, people who have these corporate positions don't apologize. They hide, but they don't apologize. If a manager and I go sideways, he may apologize to me or I may apologize to him. There is a human dynamic. With corporations there generally isn't a human dynamic," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
"I'm not mad. It amuses me that people who are charged with running a big company like this are horses' asses," Arum continued. "Companies are companies. Companies are made up for individuals of different jobs. Those people can change. So you don't say 'that I'll never do business with MGM.' A year from now the MGM may be different from the MGM we have today."
Arum's anger is fueled by the issues being caused with a major sponsor of the pay-per-view. Although Tecate has paid millions for their sponsorship of Pacquiao-Bradley, rival beer company Corono was widely displayed in the venue as part of the promotional items for Mayweather-Maidana.
"What I am angry about and what concerns me - is Tecate. They spend millions of dollars to promote these fights....[their company] gives money to the MGM, which the MGM isn't gonna get. And the Tecate executives come here and most of the signs are from Mayweather's fight, sponsored by Corona. If they had Floyd Mayweather's picture on the seats of the chairs I wouldn't give a sh*t. It's the fact that there are economic [conflicts]," Arum said.
"Or HBO, who goes through all of this great length and work and so forth - putting on this fight on pay-per-view and all they see around are Showtime signs. Give me a f***ing break or tell me that going in."
Arum explained that Sturm was confronted by his own co-workers, who disagreed with the venue's heavy display of Mayweather-Maidana promotional items.
"First of all, before we made the deal...[Top Rank President] Todd [duBoef] talked to [MGM's President & Chief Marketing Officer Bill] Hornbuckle. We have an email from Hornbuckle, which they have since violated. That is part of the contract. I don't talk to them because I don't believe anything they say, so Todd talks to them. And one call in particular, I was there when he was talking in the car to Hornbuckle and Hornbuckle said every right thing. And then you know something? Nothing the f*** happened. It's a jerkoff. That's the way they want to act, that's fine."
"Sturm, who's been here for so many years, should know better. He can't say 'well I did it and made a mistake.' His own people argued with him 'that what you're doing is not correct.' His own people. We know the people and if there is a lawsuit, it will come out in the media who told what we was doing was incorrect. And if he had guts and courage in his convictions - wouldn't he talk to you guys? Why leave the stage to me? How many guys have talked to him. Why doesn't he pick up the phone and talk to Steve Carp, the local reporter. You don't talk if you have something to hide."
"There are two companies which are the leading American companies in gaming and it's for a reason. And it's because they are smarter than these guys and they know what they are doing. First is the Venetian/Sands company and then there is the Wynn. Pick up a paper and look at the stock. And look at where the stock of each company is going in the last two years. And then tell me who has smarter people. Is it luck? I don't think so. If one company is making so much more than the other companies and doesn't have financial problems because they borrowed too much money - its not luck, its because they are smarter and conduct themselves better. This company really has a serious management problem."
Arum believes that he knows the likely scenario of events which led to this present situation with the MGM, but he makes it very clear that he doesn't have any concrete proof, as of yet, to solidly his theory.
According to Arum's speculation, the MGM was paranoid that Mayweather was seriously considering the idea of taking his next fight to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. And in order to secure Mayweather's next fight, the MGM agreed to display his promotional items during Pacquiao-Bradley fight week.
"I think I know what happened but I'm not sure. What I really believe, but without knowing [for sure] - is they screwed around that they would go to Barclays, which they never [would go] because of taxes. It's all bullsh*t. And these guys [at the MGM] fell for it and part of what they said [to the MGM] was - 'put our signs up all over when the Pacquiao [fight happens]. And I'm sure we're gonna discover that [they said that]..... 'f*** the contract that you have with Arum, f*** that.' And [the MGM said] 'we're gonna do it because we don't want him to go to Barclays.' Do I know that for sure? No I don't. But that's what I smell," Arum said.