Bob Arum wants to speak with Vince McMahon about holding fights in WWE Performance Center


Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO, has strongly advocated for a cautious approach to holding sporting events during the global coronavirus pandemic. Boxing as a whole has come to a complete standstill with fighters unable to train or travel and gathering size restrictions complicating even the idea of holding events even without fans in attendance.

Now, with the state of Florida giving the green light to professional sports, media and entertainment as “essential employees” — in turn allowing Vince McMahon’s WWE to hold live television events from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando — Arum says he’s interested in exploring the use of the facility to hold future events.

“It’s very, very interesting, and we’re going to be in touch with them,” Arum told ESPN. “There’s a possibility to use their facility to maybe do events without a crowd. … We are very close with Vince and the WWE. So let’s see, but we’re still not talking before June.”

Arum’s relationship with WWE was on display when heavyweight champion Tyson Fury wrestled on a late 2019 WWE card from Saudi Arabia. That relationship could be a building block that allows for Top Rank to move boxing operations to the WWE training facility in the summer depending on the status of the pandemic.

Arum remained steadfast that the fights would not be able to take place — even without fans — unless there were testing measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“But it all depends, the whole reopening of the country, the different states, it all come down to the same thing — testing, adequate testing, ” Arum said. “You cannot open it and have athletes compete against each other with referees, the judges, with camera people, unless you can assure that it’s safe and the only way you can ensure that it’s safe is with testing. It comes down to testing.”

Arum also stated he believed that, by the last quarter of 2020, empty arena fights could be taking place. But, he cautioned, the biggest fights possible may not be able to take place unless fighters are willing to accept a significant loss of money.

“For example, [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder, the gate was close to $17 million, and that’s from the public buying tickets to the fight,” Arum said. “How do you replace that? Well, if you don’t replace it — then somebody has to eat that.”

Fury and Wilder are set to meet in a third fight after Fury scored a stoppage victory over Wilder in the rematch of their controversial 2018 draw, claiming the WBC heavyweight championship in the process. The fight — and a potential unification superfight with the winner taking on fellow world champion Anthony Joshua — is unlikely to go down without fans in the stands.





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