Mayweather, McGregor, Money
By: Kirk Jackson
It seems it’s more than just a hypothetical, more than just what if? This is more than fantasy talk now.
Boxing meets MMA. The polarizing, retired,boxing legend Floyd Mayweather vs. the budding, active, mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor.
It appears there has been an ongoing feel out process for more than a year now and with recent public discussions from each party (Mayweather, McGregor), we inch closer to a deal between the two.
What was originally thought of as a circus attraction may actually come into fruition.
Mayweather is familiar with stepping outside the boundaries of boxing and branching out to expand his brand across various out and audiences.
Think Dancing with the Stars, WrestleMania and Justin Beiber. This would be another instance in “The Money Team” mantra and another chance to reel in the big money.
“I believe the fight could happen. He’s a tough competitor and has proved throughout the years in the UFC that he can fight standing up,” Mayweather told Showtime in Las Vegas this past Saturday, where he was attending the championshipfight between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
“So we’ll just have to see what the future holds. Hopefully we can make the fight happen.”
The commentary from Mayweather is in response to the recent remarks made from McGregor, when interviewed by MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani.
“That fight is being more than explored. That fight has been in the works for a while now,” McGregor said. “It’s a fight the people want. It’s the fight I want.”
Based on these recent interviews, both fighters are open to the fight. Both fighters realize the amount of money they can make based on the perceptions of what can actually happen, even though in reality, this looks like a lopsided mismatch.
Mayweather hit the nail on the head regarding this potential match-up. “The fans want this fight. The fans have been asking for this fight,” Mayweather said.
“It’s all about entertainment. He’s [McGregor] very entertaining. He’s very outspoken like myself. So let’s give the fans what they want to see.”
McGregor is the UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, but said his current focus is on a fight with Mayweather.
“The next time I fight, I will step through the ropes with gloves on,” McGregor said. “I got my eyes on one thing and that’s Floyd Mayweather.”
This quote from McGregor underlines his motivation and intentions. McGregor is highly intelligent and wants to make the most money possible; which brings into question the validity regarding McGregor’s warrior spirit.
Because the perceptionis he is some kind of ultimate warrior. McGregor is a fighter who will face anyone, in any setting, under any circumstance. He is the definition of a true fighter; he brings the fight to his opponent, he’s out for blood, insert any cliché here, etc.
Which is fine and dandy, but there are a few things to acknowledge.
McGregor is simply trying to get the most money possible; this isn’t about testing his might against the best opposition per say.
Guys like Tony Ferguson and KhabibNurmagomedov await McGregor at lightweight if he decides to return and defend his title in the UFC.
Or if you’re McGregor, why not fight a few boxers while building up to a match against Mayweather?
As he discovered sparring welterweight contender and regional champion Chris Van Heerden, boxing is a different league regarding the stand-up striking he is accustomed to in the UFC.
If he fights a world-level class boxer en route to Mayweather, he will not make it to Mayweather. Like Ronda Rousey, McGregor may be in for a rude awakening.
This leads to an important variable that should not be overlooked, Dana White.White is the president and mascot of the UFC.
White also views and treats his fighters as investments. And McGregor is clearly White’s most valuable investment and why ruin that by feeding McGregor to the wolves of the boxing arena?
McGregor is under contract with the UFC, so a fight featuring Mayweather and McGregor has to include White in some capacity.
Which lends to the question of whether if this fight talk is just posturing from both sides; especially McGregor’s, in the sense of maintaining relevance and gaining some form of leverage regarding his financial status with the UFC.
McGregor made it clear in recent months he wants a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to earning more money while fighting under the UFC banner.
White discussed the earnings of a UFC fighter in comparison to other athletes across sports with reporter Graham Bensinger.
“If I told you what the top salaries were with our stars, you’d be blown away. You’d be blown away!” White said.
“Here’s the difference. We negotiate a contract with the guy, weeks, sometimes months, whatever it is, and you end up with a deal. Now, if you’re the champion, or a big star, usually is your deal is to be cut in on the PPV. You’re a partner with us on the PPV. What we’ve done, is we’ve revolutionized the fight industry. Boxing is dying for many many reasons, okay? Many reasons. So we come in, we cut a deal with the guy. The guy gets cut in the piece of the PPV.”
UFC is a privately ownedcompany;there is always a question of validity of the numbers speculated.
According to White, if McGregor’s earnings in the UFC are so significant and if boxing is dying as he suggests, why is McGregor so eager to enter this realm of boxing?
It’s either White is not completely honest with numbers his fighters and the numbers the company earns or he’s not paying McGregor the money he deserves.
More than likely it’s the latter. McGregor is not getting paid his worth and wants capitalize off his stardom and earning potential by fighting Mayweather.
This makes the offer of $25 million White offered to pay Mayweather and McGregor disingenuous and like an offer to save face.
We can compare pay-per-view numbers, the figures calculated from lives gates between boxing and mma or between Mayweather and McGregor.
The numbers lean towards Mayweather’s favor is that regard and his team holds leverage in regards to the split of money generated from a potential fight.
The Sports Daily has McGregor at almost $10 million earned for his entire career. Multiple sources including Forbes, has Mayweather’s earnings at more than $700 million.
The hypothetical match would more than likely take place in Nevada and if we compare the money generated from live gates according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission website, Mayweather holds the edge as well.
Back to the most important variable, Dana White. McGregor is viewed as an investment, co-promoting an event with Mayweather seems unlikely.
Because McGregor is a product, a product that has the potential to look bad in the boxing ring against an elite boxer. The question is what good is the return of the product after a potential bad outing?
There are still questions to the legitimacy of the fight.
Right now, we’re still at the stage of garnering interest, keeping names relevant, stirring up controversy, creating discussion, build up and eventually generating money. That’s what it’s about ladies and gentlemen.
This will be a topic of discussion throughout the course of the year.There is an audience for the fight no matter how egregious this match-up sounds.
This is all for show. Mayweather and McGregor are literally banking on their personalities and the perceptions of each character.
As the circus continues, we’ll see what happens.