By Bryanna Fissori
The sport of Mixed Martial Arts as a whole had little to lose putting its poster boy up against arguably the most familiar face in boxing for this generation. McGregor the MMA fighter was coming into this bout with literally no professional boxing experience against boxing’s undefeated 49-0 Mayweather.
Expectations were exceeded by many when McGregor was able to not only make it through the early rounds, but to actually win rounds on the scorecard. Maywether contends that losing the early rounds was his plan all along. Given his propensity to warm up in the later rounds, this is not unlikely. Despite the loss, McGregor made many MMA fans proud and has undoubtedly served as a catalyst for change in the sport.
Several MMA fighters and industry professionals such as Max Holloway, Daniel Cormier, Eddie Alvarez, Cody Garbrandt, Mick Maynard, Matt Brown and more have praised McGregor for his representation of MMA athletes.
Increased Fan Base for Both Sports
McGregor’s efforts in entering the world of boxing will have long lasting effects on the MMA industry. First and foremost, a new demographic of fans has been introduced to the sport. Even if unintentional, hardcore boxing fans have sat through a plethora of UFC focused images and clips during the media circus surrounding this fight. Undoubtedly, many boxing fans who may not have the utmost appreciation for Mayweather have found themselves cheering for “the MMA fighter.” How much more likely are they now to tune into McGregor’s next UFC fight?
On that same note, MMA fans have been introduced to the world of boxing. They have looked up rules, questioned and compared striking styles and sat through at least nine full rounds. Talk of which other MMA fighters have good enough hands to box has already started to circulate through the discussion threads.
MMA Fighter Salaries
McGregor has been the most vocal proponent for an increase in MMA fighter salaries. In his professional boxing debut McGregor will have made more than his four and a half years in the UFC combined.
“The game changes every time,” McGregor said when asked about returning to a sport where the purses are traditionally much smaller than boxing.
With MMA promotions like Bellator and the Professional Fighter’s League who may be able to offer competitive salaries and bonuses, it is likely that the UFC will have to step up its pay scale. This is even more true now that fighters have seen how much more can be made in boxing rather than MMA.
The Best Got Tested
Boxing is something sacred that requires complete focus on the specific discipline. Boxing . . . went into the 10th round with a debut fighter. Some could view that as a weakness in the competitive caliber of boxing, others would see the strength of a 40 year old veteran coming out of retirement and still able to be victorious.
Props to Mayweather for a victory and solid game plan. For many fans of both sports, this was boxing versus MMA. No matter how it is viewed from the perspective of the actual fight, McGregor went nearly 10 solid rounds in an entertaining fight with a boxer some may consider TBE (The Best Ever.) McGregor landed 111 punches, which was 30 more than Manny Pacquiao. A debut boxer, an MMA champion and now the face of two sports, McGregor has done well for himself and the sport of MMA despite the loss.