The bad blood between two of the most prolific fighters in the world has reached a boiling point, and a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight is now a real possibility.
It has been a crazy few weeks in the combat sports world. The madness began on April 19th when Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor tweeted, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.” That tweet quickly made gambling news, and became one of the most talked about stories in sports, fueling speculation over Conor McGregor’s next career move after his loss to Nate Diaz in March.
UFC president Dana White quickly released a statement after the tweet, asserting that McGregor did not fulfill his UFC 200 promotional duties by refusing to fly to Las Vegas for a press conference and commercial shoot. McGregor, in return, make his case via a Facebook post that he should not have to partake in media obligations, as he is already the sport’s biggest star. Ultimately, the Irishman was removed from the historic UFC 200 fight card, leading to rumors of a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor super fight.
The genesis of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
In July of 2015, Conor McGregor was a promising, albeit untested, MMA fighter. He had racked up five straight wins inside the UFC, with 4 knockouts. Perhaps more impressive than his fighting skills, however, was his gift of the gab. The young Irish fighter seemed to always know what to say in the media. To put it simply, people wanted to hear him talk.
During his promotional work for UFC 189, McGregor had an appearance on Conan, when he was asked about the possibility of a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout. He didn’t mince his words.
“There’s no real boxing fights left in the boxing world for Floyd. After the Manny fight happened, there’s no more real bulls. If you’re looking for a fight that’s gonna generate interest, it must be across… a match-up of different styles. I’ve said it before, I don’t feel boxing is the style of fighting that can beat Floyd. But saying that, there are many, many forms of fighting that can beat him. So, if we were to get it on, I would certainly dismantle him, as well.”
The fire continues to heat up between the two fighters
Floyd Mayweather has never been one to choose his words carefully. He has accumulated millions of dollars with his larger than life persona and brash claims. Mayweather has made many disparaging comments about MMA in the past, but had never mentioned a fighter specifically. In January of 2016, this changed.
“They say (McGregor) talks a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant,” Mayweather told Fight Hype. “So biased! Like I said before, all I’m saying is this, I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists.” These claims may actually have some validity to them, and most took the quote as a statement on how racism exists today, not a dig at McGregor. The 27 year old Irish fighter felt differently.
“I didn’t appreciate that one bit,” McGregor said at a press conference to promote his fight with UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. “There’s people buried in the desert for less than that. Floyd needs to understand before he speaks who he is speaking about, and that is that.” McGregor went on to talk about the prejudice that Irish people have faced in the past, and still face today.
The stars seem to have aligned, but is a fight actually possible?
After McGregor’s removal from UFC 200, most pundits expected him to wait to take on the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo. Dana White agreed, stating that Conor would take on the winner of that fight sometime in the future. Then, out of nowhere, reports began surfacing of a potential Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing fight. Mayweather added some validity to these rumors by stating, “It may not be a rumor. Keep your fingers crossed. It may be a boxer vs. an MMA fighter.”
So what would need to happen in order for this fight to materialize? The first step would be for both parties to come to an agreement. McGregor is under contract with the UFC. No fighter has been able to take a professional boxing fight while under contact with the UFC, however, McGregor’s huge following could be enough for the UFC to allow it, but not without a catch.
More than likely, the UFC would want some kind of co-promotion in the boxing fight. It would not make sense for them to risk their most marketable fighter getting hurt or embarrassed without some kind of monetary reward. A UFC co-promotion could be enough.
When can we expect the fight?
The fact of the matter is no one truly knows if a Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight is even possible. There are numerous legal hoops that both parties will need to jump through in order to make that fight happen. This hasn’t stopped online sportsbooks in the US from posting their odds on the fight. Bovada has listed Mayweather at a -2000 favorite, and McGregor a +900 underdog.
What do you think? Are the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor rumors nothing more than that? Should McGregor stick around in the UFC? And if a fight with Floyd did happen…. Who would win??