By Chris Robinson
UFC President Dana White has been on quite the tear lately, telling various media outlets his unabashed thoughts towards HBO color commentator Larry Merchant. On September 17th, Merchant got into a bit of verbal fisticuffs with Floyd Mayweather Jr. following the fighter’s shocking 4th round knockout over Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas and White was quick to side with Mayweather.
From calling Merchant’s on-air antics ‘embarrassing’ to claiming that the 80-year old veteran is ‘senile’, White hasn’t let up one bit. While some may have responded to White’s insults with venom of their own, Merchant simply brushed his snide remarks off and tried to take the high road.
“Let’s see, anyone who can make a multi-million dollar business out of street fighting has to be respected,” Merchant opened up during our recent conversation. “My opinion is that anyone is allowed to put up a tent, put on a show, and invite people to come. And obviously he’s had a lot of success. Good for him.”
But as far as Merchant ever being a fan of Mixed Martial Arts? Don’t count on it anytime soon.
“I don’t watch it. I don’t get a so-called sport in which you can have a 6-2 record and be called a world champion. I just don’t appreciate the finer points of MMA,” Merchant continued.
It was surprising to hear Merchant so unfazed by White’s criticisms of him, but then again, you can’t make it as long as he has in the sport of boxing without having thick skin and learning how to roll with the punches.
“It’s a free country. I’m a commentator, and if I’m commenting and observing on others than how can I not be open to others observing and commenting on me?”
[Reader's note: Anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look at some of the recent events Merchant has covered, please visit the Massive HBO Fight Gallery ]
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com