Madison Square Garden has denied claims that Jake Paul’s fight card against Hasim Rahman Jr. was canceled due to poor ticket sales.
Last weekend, a boxing tournament scheduled for Paul and Rahman this Saturday at Madison Square Garden was cancelled. Paul’s “Most Valuable Promotions” promotion claimed that Rahman was having trouble cutting weight and that the fight was pulled due to “health and safety” concerns. Following UFC 277, UFC President Dana White stated that he believed the cancellation had more to do with poor netting and Paul’s relationship with a former UFC employee than anything else.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for MSG, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, spoke to MMA Fighting in an effort to clarify box office performance.
“To be clear, sales were strong leading up to combat week – the cancellation was not based on ticket sales,” a spokesperson said. “This fight was supposed to be one of the top 10 highest grossing MSG boxing events of the past 15 years.”
The statement also noted that fight week is “traditionally the strongest sales week” when it comes to boxing events.
Earlier this week, Paul’s business partner, MVP co-promoter and former UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian also stated that ticket sales are trending strongly and have nothing to do with the cancellation of the event.
Rahman, on the other hand, claimed that Paul was looking for a way out of the fight by adding extra weights and barriers. Rahman said he still plans to make £205 on Friday despite the cancellation.
In April, MSG hosted a hugely successful boxing tournament headlined by Kathy Taylor and Amanda Serrano, who were scheduled to compete in the co-main event of Saturday’s tournament against Brenda Carabajal, which was co-promoted by MVP.
“MVPs have been great partners and we look forward to working with them again soon,” the spokesperson said.