16,412 fans that packed Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena – nearly 1,600 more enthusiasts than the UFC has ever drawn to the venue – for Saturday's Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley event.
"I think boxing and the UFC can coexist," said UFC president Dana White who was among the sellout crowd. "I'm a big fight fan. When there's a good boxing match, I want to see it."
"We don't look at it like we're in competition. People who are real fight fans are f------ fight fans, whether it's MMA or it's boxing."
The other seven bouts on the Pacquiao vs. Mosley essentially were meaningless to the boxing fans. When lightweight Karl Dargan kicked off the fight card with a decision win over Randy Arrellin. The bout bout was witnessed by no more than a few dozen family members and friends.
While not always full from the opening bell, the UFC consistently scores at least a few thousand people for the first fight of the night. In newer markets, the venues often are close to capacity for the first preliminary-card bout.
"It's because all the fights are good," White said. "You can't say you've never had a moment where we've got a fight going on and you say, 'S---, that Nate Diaz fight goes off at 5:30. I've got to be there for that fight.' There's so many good fights on the card, and you want to see them.
"The thing is with boxing that's different than us, they don't market their preliminary-card fighters. They don't promote the undercard."
"I think we've gotten to a place now where we've gained respect from people ... We're in a place now where we're a major sports league, and people respect us. Are we bigger than boxing? Are we bigger than something else? Listen, in the next 10 years, it's common sense.
"Right now, we're in a half-billion homes worldwide. We'll be in over a billion homes worldwide in the next few months. What's that going to do over the next 10 years? It's going to be a massive, huge sport. I always talk about the troubles boxing has. Boxing has a lot of problems and a lot of trouble. But whenever there's a big fight, and it happens, I'll be there to watch."
"The last time I went to the Pacquiao fight in Dallas, I tweeted that I was going to watch Pacquiao. I've got Pacquiao f------ tennis shoes. I've worn Pacquiao jackets. You've never seen me be afraid to promote boxing. I love watching Pacquiao fight.
"Boxing is a fun sport. When the right guys are fighting, you're going to want to watch it. When boxing has exciting fighters, boxing will do well."
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