Three drivers representing Uber and Lyft and one traditional cab driver are headed to a Philly boxing ring this summer to settle their differences with their fists.
“Battle of the Drivers,” announced Wednesday by Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman, will feature two main fights: an Uber driver versus a Lyft driver, and an undercard match between an Uber driver and a regular cabbie.
And the trash talk has already begun.
“Uber is everywhere, we ain’t going nowhere. Whether you Lyft, cabs, we don’t care,” George Robertson Storm, an Uber driver with an average rating of 4.71 stars, said during the fight announcement at the office of co-organizer and attorney Jason Fine. “Uber is here to stay. Y’all can say you gonna take us out, it’s never gonna happen. There’s too many of us out here. We out here to stay and we helping a lot of people too. It’s free enterprise, free world, free country.”
Storm, 37, who has been driving for Uber since March 2015, will face off against a Lyft driver with whom he got into a physical altercation over a fare three months ago in Center City. The two faced each other but kept it professional during the announcement on Wednesday.
Lyft driver Dan “Danny Mac” MacMinn, 39, said he was summoned to pick up a young woman, but saw Storm pick her up instead.
MacMinn said he reached into the Uber driver’s window to push Storm, which led to a shoving match on the street between the two as a crowd watched, before Storm drove off with the woman.
“Everybody’s pretty cool with Uber. Sometimes cabbies shout out their window at you, but with Lyft, I thought we was on the same team,” Storm said of the squabble. “I was upset, and I do want to fight him.”
Storm said the woman at the center of the fracas was unperturbed and he safely delivered her to her destination a short time later. “Still a five-star ride,” he said.
“It’s definitely not over. I’m gonna step in the ring with the man that I got in the tussle with on the street and we’re gonna see who's the better driver out there,” said MacMinn, a southpaw from Prospect Park who said he has been a street fighter all his life.
Meanwhile, the undercard match may go toward settling city cabbies' long-standing beef with Uber. Cabbies and Uber Black drivers have long protested UberX and Lyft operations , which they say hurt their business.
“I’ve been ready to beat some ass for a while now. I’m representing 20 to 30,000 Philadelphia cab drivers right now, and you’re about to realize, all of that anger that they have, I’m carrying it on my shoulders,” cabbie Mike Davis, 32, a driver for five years from West Oak Lane said heatedly, pointing his finger at the Uber driver he's set to fight. “We have to stand up and unite against what’s going on. There’s no business coming in. Uber’s sucking it all up.”
His opponent, Uber driver Johnson Jeannot, 33, said regular cabs are a dying institution.
“I don’t give a damn about you losing your job or you not having enough rides. If you were doing your job, you wouldn’t be having no Uber or Lyft,” Jeannot responded to Davis. “Come August 19, I’m gonna teach you how to make lemonade. And who knows, maybe we got a job for you at Uber. Join our side, brother.”
Uber and Lyft are both technically still illegal in Philadelphia, although a regulatory compromise hammered out recently in Harrisburg, if passed into law, would legalize them under the supervision of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Uber and Lyft did not respond to requests for comment on the match.
The match is being promoted by World Xtreme Entertainment. Feldman and Fine said the boxers will vie for cash prizes and pride.
Feldman, known as "the 16-minute man" for giving regular people 15 minutes of fame, or that extra 16th minute to celebs on the D-list, has organized Celebrity Boxing matches involving people like "Tan Mom" Patricia Krentcil, "Milf Mom" Angela Cottone, Jose Canseco, Tanya Harding and Rodney King.
But his reputation buckled in recent years as public outcry led to the cancelation of a planned fight between rapper DMX and George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin.
Another scheduled boxing match between meteorologist and Metro columnist John Bolaris and Michael Lohan, father of troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, fizzled after Bolaris backed out.
“I’ve been knocked out so many times in my life, I just keep going,” Feldman said of the setbacks.
As for the Uber/Lyft/cabbie match-up, he thinks it was meant to be.
“It just made sense,” he said.