Three months after a runaway success promoting a Mike Tyson exhibition match with Roy Jones Jr., Triller Fight Club rocked the boxing world on February 26 when he won the right to promote a defense of the Teofimo Lopez’s undisputed lightweight title with an insanely high bid of $ 6.018 million.
With nearly $ 10 million in the hole on Saturday with multiple date changes, no fights and nothing to show for it, Triller’s COO told Yahoo Sports he had given up on promoting title defense obligatory IBF between Lopez and George Kambosos as he redefined his courses.
COO Thorstein Meier said Triller will no longer promote what has come to be known as “freak show” or “carnival act” fights featuring long-retired boxers and / or celebrities. . He will attempt to create a new entertainment platform that combines well-known musical acts with legitimate and competitive boxing matches.
The Tyson-Jones show on November 28 was Triller’s first in the boxing space. It featured YouTuber Jake Paul in the main co-event against former NBA slam dunk champion Nate Robinson. He also had several big musical names between fights. The pay-per-view sold almost 2 million units and was produced well.
But Triller never followed through on his success and took a financial beating trying to get Lopez-Kambosos into the ring. Part of it was his own fault, but a large part, like Lopez having contracted COVID-19 less than a week before the fight, was not.
Events continued to scuttle the fight until this week, when Triller had had enough and tapped out.
“[With] the advertising that we had lined up, the performance marketing that we had lined up, the radio spots, the TV spots, all that stuff, frankly it’s fair to say that right now we’re between $ 9 million and $ 10 million in promotional dollars, promotional money, that we spent to promote this fight, ”Meier told Yahoo Sports. “We didn’t get anything out of it and… that’s why we say enough is enough.”
How Triller fumbled the bag
Meier said Kambosos and his team stopped responding to them, failing to show a $ 37,000 plane theft between Australia and the United States on September 29. He was initially asking Triller for $ 400,000 to agree to move the fight from October 4 to October 16. Lopez accepted the move only for a stock market advance, but Kambosos, who was the B-side, wanted to be paid the extra money.
As a mandatory challenger, he is said to have earned a career-high $ 2.1 million scholarship. Under the IBF’s rules for the scholarship offer, Lopez as the champion got 65% of the winning bid, meaning he would earn $ 3.9 million.
Triller had asked the IBF to put Kambosos in default and order a new purse offer with Lopez and the next available competitor, Isaac Cruz. The IBF responded that it would not be available from October 4 to 7 and would rule on Triller’s request afterwards.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport was the second bidder on February 26, offering $ 3.506 million. If the IBF does not deem Kambosos in default, then Hearn’s offer would be the winner. In this scenario, Lopez would get $ 2.28 million while Kambosos would earn $ 1.23 million. Each fighter owed money from these scholarships to their promoters, Top Rank in the case of Lopez and Lou DiBella in that of Kambosos.
There were only two officially announced dates for the fight. After Triller won the handbag offer, there was talk of having it on June 5th. But when retiree Floyd Mayweather unexpectedly agreed to fight pay-per-view YouTuber Logan Paul on June 6, Triller’s hierarchy feared competing with the Mayweather-Paul PPV was reckless.
The first officially announced date for the fight was therefore June 19 in Miami. But on June 15, news broke that Lopez had tested positive for COVID and the fight was postponed indefinitely.
The next and only other officially announced date was October 4, although there have been discussions about whether to set it up in Australia or in August in the United States. But no date in August worked, and Triller moved it to October 4 in Madison Square. Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
This date, however, was fraught with pitfalls. The fight was one-on-one with a “Monday Night Football” game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers. It was also five days before the start of the WBC heavyweight title fight on PPV between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder and the start of the MLB playoffs on October 5. And there’s still a possibility that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees could play in a game-in on Monday to break a tie.
“It was totally my mistake,” Meier said of the October 4 fight. “Put that totally on me. I thought 4/10 would be a good date for the venue and for a pay-per-view because nothing else was happening. Something was happening, a very big NFL game. Everyone started yelling at me and telling me we should do it on a day when nothing else’s going on. And frankly I started freaking out because I knew the IBF deadline [to stage the fight] was 10/17.
Ryan Kavanaugh of Triller had publicly stated that the company was considering moving the fight from October 4 to October 16. Even though it was far from over, it was accepted as gospel and Triller looked stupid and had issues with his partners.
Meier said “unfortunately Ryan has spoken prematurely”, with the news of a possible change. This was ultimately the last nail as that was when Triller lost communication with Kambosos.
But Meier was optimistic that Kambosos would agree to move him to October 16 given that Kambosos attorney Greg Smith wrote a letter to the IBF on August 28 asking the IBF to extend the October 17 deadline for organize the fight. to 30 days, which allows it to be later in October.
Referring to the fight scheduled for October 4, Smith wrote: “Right now Kambosos can fly to New York, but there are no return flights available to Sydney until early November 2021. Upon his return in Australia, Mr. Kambosos will face a 14-day quarantine. While he understands that the IBF has no control over Australia’s COVID policies, it wouldn’t be fair for Mr Kambosos to be stranded in the United States for nearly a month after the fight before he can return home to begin the quarantine process.
Triller COO: “There’s a lot of shenanigans going on here”
After the June 19 fight was postponed when Lopez contracted COVID, Triller requested that Kambosos stay in the United States given the lack of flights. Meier said the company offered to rent a house in Kambosos and take his girlfriend, Bec Pereira, to the United States to stay with him.
However, according to Meier, Kambosos did not want his child to be born in the United States and flew to Australia, where his third child was born in late September.
As Triller tried to get Kambosos on board on October 16, the Kambosos party fell silent.
“Let’s be honest: there is a lot of shenanigans here,” said Meier, who said he was concerned that someone was working behind the scenes to scuttle Triller’s efforts to organize the fight.
To compound matters, Kambosos manager Peter Kahn had also served as Triller’s boxing operations president until September, when he left that post. Although Kahn withdrew from Kambosos’ affairs when he was with Triller, this was a clear conflict of interest and appeared to be a violation of the law prohibiting Muhammad Ali from serving as director at the same time. and promoter.
Once Kahn left Triller, he was in the unique position of negotiating for the other party at an event he had tried to organize a few days before.
Triller ended up with an egg on his face and tried to start a business that looked promising after the Tyson-Jones fight.
Triller redefines its trajectory
Meier said Triller wanted to return to this formula with some changes. He has said on several occasions that other promoters should not feel threatened by Triller and that the company is not looking to take any of their fighters.
Triller wants to put on shows similar to Tyson-Jones, where there’s a fight, then a musical act performs a song or two before resuming a fight.
He said he wanted to make it a member and an entertaining night with quality fights, star musicals, fireworks and laser shows. He said the cards could include other combat sports other than boxing matches.
“It’s very, very important: we’re not trying to be the new Matchroom,” Meier said. “We’re not trying to be the new Top Rank. We are not trying to be a competitor for them. We are not trying to build a stable of fighters and guarantee them 20 fights for the next five years. What we’re trying to do is create a new platform. We’re trying to create a new show that brings entertainment back to boxing.
“In my humble opinion, boxing is entertainment to begin with. That’s why we want to call these evenings [when we put on shows] an evening of entertainment. … We want to have a boxing night with musical acts and not only create a new platform, but develop a new audience. Let’s be very, very honest. Yes, I work in the boxing industry, but I’m not a fan of traditional boxing. … Boxing needs a little injection [of excitement] because it’s gone out of date and that’s what it is.