January 6, 2005 -- THE rabble-rousing pres ident of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is slapping boxing aficionado Sylvester Stallone across the face with a $5 million challenge.
Dana White, who oversees the mixed martial arts fighting league and its new Spike TV reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter," wants the winner of his series to fight the winner of Stallone's boxing show, "The Contender."
"Boxing is in shambles," White told The Post yesterday. "Back in the day, whoever the heavyweight champ was, was considered the baddest man on the planet, and that's just not the case anymore — not by a long shot — and we're willing to put our money where our mouth is."
The proposed match would be televised on cable or pay-per-view or held privately. "However they want it," White said.
NBC officials, Stallone and "Contender" creator Mark Burnett declined to comment yesterday.
On "Ultimate Fighter," debuting Jan. 17, 16 contestants will be split into teams. They will live and train together, and ultimately fight in a Las Vegas bout live on Spike.
Fighters will be ejected until only two fighters in separate weight classes remain — and they'll be offered six-figure contracts with the UFC.
On "The Contender" — a new NBC series from reality show guru Burnett, "Rocky" star Stallone, Jeffrey Katzenberg and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard — 16 boxers square off each week in the ring. Losers face elimination.
The two finalists square off in the finale for a $1 million prize.
The show is slated to debut Feb. 21.