The biggest storyline leading into the rematch between WBO welterweight titlist Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand centered around the promotional signage that was festooned throughout the hotel marketing the May 3rd bout between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, which is promoted by Top Rank's arch-rival Golden Boy Promotions and distributed by HBO's main competitor Showtime on pay-per-view.
This even created a conflict between the two main beer sponsors, Tecate and Corona, who are sponsoring these promotions.
Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank was on the war-path and he didn't let up throughout the week.
"Let me tell you where I came from, I was very vocal about it, I still feel very strongly about it," said the veteran promoter on Friday afternoon to a group of reporters inside the media center."I met with my lawyers this morning, they are handling the situation and once you meet with the lawyers like I have -- who are very high-priced and very expensive -- it takes everything off my back and I ain't going to discuss it any more. It'll be, what it'll be."
Now, Arum being Arum, kept talking about it with more vigor. His reaction to the presence Mayweather-Maidana throughout the MGM Grand early in the week?"I couldn't believe it. I never saw anything like this in all the years I've been in boxing and that's a lot of years."
At the final press conference on Wednesday, Arum, who has what is called 'F-u money' and at an age where he sometimes doesn't really give a damn what he says, had no problems publicly chastising Richard Sturm, an MGM Grand executive while on the dais( while he was sitting to his immediate left).
The reality is that the MGM Grand is now the definitive home for big fights in this sport, there aren't many other options in Las Vegas (save for perhaps the Thomas and Mack Center, which is an older building and one that brings about a logistical inconvenience for everyone involved). Arum has had high-profile feuds before and has patched things up when it was economically viable for him.
But in this situation? Well...
"Patching what up? Patching....I mean, what's to patch up? They did something that I believe that anybody who's been around this sport would tell you is an absolutely horrendous thing to do," stated Arum, who believes that this was a matter of taking advantage of a culture."Its not only disrespectful to me, it's disrespectful to the fighters that we represent and because one of them is an icon of the Philippines, it shows tremendous disrespect for the Philippine people, which unfortunately in a lot of places are the victim off because they're such nice people, they're such willing people. A lot of people -- both in the United States and in other countries -- disrespect Filipino's.
"And TOTALLY disrespectful to the Filipino's because they could've solved this problem from the get-go. We wanted to put this fight in the Mandalay Bay. It would've been no signage or nothing. THEY asked us to be here at the MGM Grand because 'the Mansion' is here and they put the high-rollers -- most of whom are Filipino's -up in 'the Mansion.'"
There hasn't been any American who has fought for the Filipino's like this since General Douglas MacArthur. Arum added,"If I were Flipino, I would never patronize an MGM Hotel again." Other MGM properties on the strip include Luxor, Bellagio and the Mirage.
There was a time when the MGM Grand and the Mandalay Bay were separate entities but they are now under one corporate umbrella, which changed the tenor of the business for those who promote cards in the 702 area code.
"It is a bad situation competitively for everybody involved when one property, one company, owns both of the buildings. When Mandalay Bay was independent, there was competition between Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand for events and that was very healthy. When MGM acquired Mandalay Bay, Steve Wynn, called me and said,'Why don't you put in an anti-trust complaint?' And I thought about it and I decided not to. Of course in retrospect, that was a mistake."