Las Vegas is known for its history of big time boxing events, as well as being the home base for the UFC for the past 20 years. If you are even a casual sports fan, you are aware of the rumored “dream” boxing matchup being discussed between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Over the past few months, both camps have been teasing a super fight between the boxing and MMA stars. Many in the MMA and boxing world dismissed the idea for good reason. Both fighters are known as the ultimate self promoters and very money hungry. What seemed like a pipe dream months ago is seemingly on its way to happening. If it does happen, I would argue it would be the most anticipated fight (boxing or MMA) since Mike Tyson owned the strip. Will it revitalize a dying sport in boxing, or be such a cluster fuck that it brings down Conor and the UFC with it?
When it was first brought up, people laughed. Many dismissed the idea as a publicity stunt for both parties. McGregor is still in the middle of an iron clad UFC contract that prohibits him from being promoted by other companies. If he were to make an appearance at Wrestlemania this year, Dana White and the UFC would have to sign off on it. A Wrestlemania appearance would be a one or two shot deal, seemingly possible because the UFC and WWE have shown cooperation in the past two years with Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey cross promoting between the brands. An even bigger hurdle would seem to be the issue of Conor getting a boxing license in Nevada. Add to the fact that he isn’t a professional boxer, only having success in boxing as a youth in Ireland before moving onto more overall MMA training. He famously told the Nevada State Athletic Commission to fuck off after being fined for his water bottle throwing incident with Nate Diaz at a UFC 202 press conference. He was here in Vegas recently to try and shore up his fine with the NSAC, as well as make a case to be licensed to box professionally in Nevada. Make no mistake; the commission will approve his license. He isn’t a health or safety hazard with his MMA training, and the commission sees dollar signs for all involved in Nevada if the fight goes down.
I’ll give a breakdown of the best and worst case scenarios for each fighter. Although both have acted like 1st rate D-Bags at various times, even if you hate both guys, this fight has the potential to be one of the biggest sporting spectacles in history. With the advent of social media, blogging, and instant coverage, this Boxing/MMA super fight might break the internet. Ideally, it will cause the Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith’s heads to explode from how hot their takes will be leading up to the event.
McGregor-BEST CASE SCENARIO: Conor gets permission from Dana White and the UFC helps co-promote the fight with Mayweather Promotions. Conor and Floyd do what they do best before a fight, shit talk and try to get as much attention through publicity stunts as they can. Conor literally lights a million dollars on fire live on all his social media platforms to show you how filthy rich he is and how he doesn’t give a fuck. Floyd counters by one upping Conor by wasting two million dollars betting on the Lakers to win the 2017 NBA Finals, even though they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Mayweather Promotions and the UFC set a PPV price tag of $99.95, setting a record for both the highest priced sports PPV of all time, along with generating the most buys in history after the fact. Conor shocks the world by beating Floyd by knockout in the 4th round. This is great for Mayweather too, because it ensures a rematch for even more $. The UFC is happy because Conor is now a legit superman, crossing sports becoming the biggest fighting icon since Tyson and Ali. Conor finishes out his contract with the UFC, and then becomes the Dana White of UFC EUROPE, expanding the brand into a permanent fixture across the Atlantic.
McGregor-WORST CASE SCEARIO: The UFC puts up a fight against Conor and Mayweather Promotions, damaging their relationship beyond repair. Conor has to go to court to get a release from his contract in order to fight. When the fight does actually happen after over two years tied up in legal issues, the excitement level has waned. They charge $99.95 for the fight on PPV, and buy rates disappoint with people complaining of the high price. People had become so sick of Conor and Floyd’s BS and history as assholes that they don’t care to watch. The fight itself is every Floyd fight you have seen in the past, boring yet masterful defensive counter punching by Mayweather. Conor looks like a chump, but even worse, it’s not entertaining. There is no rematch because of lack of demand, and the fact that Floyd would be pushing 50 by the time the 2nd fight would happen. Conor is blackballed from the UFC, and attempts to keep his MMA career going by signing with Bellator. He agrees to fight the nearly 50 year old Tito Ortiz in an open weight contest. The fight blows and McGregor leaves the MMA world to attempt to be a B-list Hollywood actor. Floyd laughs all the way to the bank, retires for the 10th time and rides off into the sunset at a local sports book in Vegas.
Mayweather-BEST CASE SCENARIO: The fight happens, but financially Floyd comes out the winner before the opening bell. The legal issues with the UFC led Floyd to being guaranteed 100 million and 70% cut of PPV buys, with Conor getting around 30 million and only 10% PPV. Any remaining profit is split between Mayweather Promotions and the UFC. Mayweather goes out on a goodwill tour apologizing for prior domestic violence incidents and claims he’s a changed man. The public gets behind his redemption story, and makes Conor the hated villain of the fight. Floyd puts on a masterful performance, winning by decision fairly handily, but leaving enough doubt for a rematch. He then takes the rematch and knocks out Conor in the 2nd round, retiring for good and with over $300 million dollars made from both fights to increase his sports betting bank roll. Trump names him the head of the President’s Council on Fitness in 2020.
Mayweather- WORST CASE SCENARIO: The fight ends up happening, but Conor doesn’t budge on wanting a 50/50 split of the payout. Floyd realizes that Connor and the UFC’s brand have more drawing power than boxing and him at this stage of his career, and agrees to the fight. Mayweather goes out on a media tour and gets buried more than ever regarding his acts of domestic violence and treatment of women. After months of Conor out shit talking Floyd, Mayweather loses a boring decision. Boxing-wise and gambling-wise it’s a bigger upset than Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson. McGregor refuses to give Floyd a rematch, and negotiates to become a minority owner of the UFC in order to keep him under contract. Mayweather vows he never needs to fight again, but hit a rough patch wasting too much money on high wagers on sports. Desperate for more cash, he negotiates a comeback fight in 2025 at the age 48 against an even older Manny Pacquiao. It bombs on PPV, having the worst buy rate in the history of Mayweather Promotions, officially ending his career for good.
Whether we like it or not, this looks like it’s happening. The outcome of the fight will have a big impact on the future of Conor in the UFC, as well as Mayweather’s undefeated legacy as a boxer. It also has potential for boom or bust for both sports. One of these two stars is going to come out of it looking worse in the public eye. Hopefully the big money is worth the risk of potential damage to each fighter’s legacy.