Category Archives: The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

Manny Pacquiao will pass on watching Mayweather-McGregor fight that 'could be very boring'

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If negotiations had fallen apart between Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor and the UFC, Manny Pacquiao would’ve gladly stepped in, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao and made the declaration last month.

As we know, that didn’t happen, and here we are on the precipice of a fantasy fight once thought impossible taking place Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Just because Pacquiao apparently was willing to fill in if given the opportunity, that doesn’t mean he approves of Mayweather (49-0 boxing) fighting UFC lightweight champion McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC).

Pacquiao is very interested in the boxing superfight going down between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16. But three weeks earlier, Pacquiao told he won’t waste his time on the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle.

“The real fight and the best fight is Golovkin vs. Canelo,” Pacquiao said. “The best vs. the best. That’s the fight I will be watching.”

The reason why falls in line with the thinking of many folks, considering the bout pits a 49-0 boxer in Mayweather vs. an 0-0 boxer in McGregor.

“McGregor has no chance in this fight,” Pacquiao said. “In fact, it could be very boring. … There is no way he will be able to land a meaningful punch on Floyd. How could he? He has no professional experience in boxing.”

Pacquiao barely managed to land a few meaningful punches on Mayweather during their much-anticipated superfight in 2015, which failed to live up to the hype (but drew a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys) and resulted in a unanimous-decision win for Mayweather.

It was boring, and Pacquiao has to know this now looking back at it. So surely you could see where he’s coming from.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Floyd Mayweather's trainer worried about Conor McGregor 'doing something stupid' in fight

One point of discussion leading up to the Aug. 26 Floyd MayweatherConor McGregor showdown is whether the UFC lightweight champion, given it’s his first professional boxing match, could get so frustrated that he’d resort to illegal MMA tactics.

As USA TODAY Sports reported, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is contractually prohibited from “going rogue” on Mayweather (49-0 boxing). UFC President Dana White even attempted to quell any fears.

“There is no way that will happen,” White said. “That is absolutely in the contract, No.1. No. 2, this is a boxing match under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. When you talk about a guy like Floyd Mayweather – the lawsuit if that ever happened … you all know how much Conor likes money. Conor would depart with a whole lot of money if that ever happened.”

Still, though, Mayweather’s assistant trainer, Nate Jones, expressed his concerns about what could happen in an interview with Submission Radio.

“One way I can see the fight ending is Floyd outboxing him, beating the crap out of him,” Jones said. “Another way I’m going to be concerned about is when Floyd gets to a point where he frustrates him too much, McGregor’s going to do something crazy. That’s the only thing I’m worried about.”

Jones continued.

“I would be more concerned about this fight because Floyd’s a little older now. He’s 40 years old. McGregor has crazy weird power, and he’s got weird shots from weird angles. I’m worried about that. But for my prediction in the fight, is Floyd either confusing him and frustrating him and stopping him in the later rounds, or Floyd outboxing him, or (McGregor) doing something stupid and losing the fight. That’s my prediction.”

On one hand, White’s remarks make sense. Why would McGregor pull a stunt like this and risk cutting into his massive payday? Then again, it’s crazy this once thought-to-be-impossible fight is even happening, so absolutely nothing should come as a surprise.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champs Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson nominated for 2017 ESPY Awards

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UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has picked up another nomination for an ESPY, and flyweight champ and pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson is finally getting some shine.

Conor McGregor

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who won the 2016 award for Best Fighter and was nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete, is nominated again in the Best Fighter category alongside Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC).

It’s the first nomination for “Mighty Mouse” and comes two months after his record-tying 10th consecutive title defense in the flyweight division.

The UFC fighters are competing against boxers Terence Crawford, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward.

McGregor is also nominated for Best International Athlete, competing against boxer Canelo Alvarez, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katinka Hosszu and soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 2017 ESPY nominees were announced today, with voting underway until the awards show on July 12 in Los Angeles. The show airs live on ABC.

The timing of McGregor’s latest nomination is interesting, considering MMA is about the furthest thing from his mind as he prepares for a boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Johnson, meanwhile, is in the midst of a standoff with the UFC over his refusal to fight ex-bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw.

MMA’s fringe sport roots have given way to regular recognition from the yearly awards show, which recognizes sports stars, teams and plays. McGregor, Holly Holm, Robbie Lawler, Ronda Rousey, Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Edson Barboza are among the fighters nominated for honors at past ESPY Awards shows.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, including “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

The story behind Conor McGregor knocking out Floyd Mayweather (in a mural on his gym wall)

When Conor McGregor steps inside the ring to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match on Aug. 26, he will have already seen himself knocking out Mayweather every day for two months.

And that’s because of what can be seen in the background of this Instagram post from the UFC lightweight champion:

Instagram Photo

Yes, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is training for Mayweather (49-0 boxing) every day with the backdrop of a giant mural depicting him knocking Mayweather silly with a straight left.

Here’s a better and complete look of the artwork that adorns McGregor’s gym in Dublin, courtesy of an Instagram post from the company that made it:

Instagram Photo

So how did this come about? Besides the fact that something this bold and brash is what we’ve come to expect from “The Notorious.” Turns out it was a last-minute request from McGregor’s coach, John Kavanaugh, to help his fighter mentally prepare.


We, SUBSET, are a Multidisciplinary Artist Collective with interests ranging from Art, Marketing​,​ Music and Film to ​Finance, Hospitality and Clothing. We have a great relationship with John Kavanagh and he graciously provided us with the opportunity of producing the artwork which is now the backdrop for Conor’s preparations.

The artwork is a gift for John which will aid Conor with the visualization of his success. As it was a surprise we were required to produce it once he finished a training session on Sunday evening and before he began another training session on Monday night. We filmed his arrival and reaction to the artwork and we are currently in the process of making a short video using the footage. This will be posted online in the coming days –

In real life, McGregor has never boxed professionally and is a giant underdog against Mayweather. In his mind and on the wall of his gym, though, McGregor is the favorite and winner. And if he can see it, then he can do it.


For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Why boxer Chris van Heerden leaked (unedited) Conor McGregor sparring footage

The news of UFC veteran heavyweight Tim Hague’s death on Sunday, following a knockout blow sustained during a boxing match in his native Canada, furnished us with a jarring and chilling reminder of the mortal peril combat-sports athletes place on themselves.

As much as we tell ourselves otherwise, and wholeheartedly want to believe it, pursuits such as MMA and boxing are a world away from “mainstream” sports.

Hague’s tragic passing at 34 is merely the latest, harrowing evidence of this. There’s just no circumventing the hard reality of what’s potentially at stake when two combatants enter a ring or octagon.

Hague’s heavyweight bout with former Edmonton Eskimos football player Adam Braidwood was just his fourth in professional boxing; Braidwood was fighting for only the ninth time.

If you were so inclined, an instructive parallel could be drawn between by such novices trying their hand at boxing and last week’s news that UFC lightweight champion and boxing neophyte Conor McGregor will meet 49-0, five-division world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.

Admittedly, these situations are hardly identical, but nor are they unrecognizable from each other. What is inescapable, however, is that on Aug. 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a boxing neophyte will be pitted against arguably its greatest proponent.

That the contest is being facilitated purely for commerce and pageantry should also raise more than a few ethical questions.

Indeed, former IBO and IBF welterweight champion Chris van Heerden sparred McGregor twice last summer, and he’s adamant the Nevada State Athletic Commission should not have sanctioned the bout, which will be contested for 12 three-minute rounds at 154 pounds.

“The danger about all of this is the conditioning,” van Heerden told MMAjunkie. “Boxing is a completely different type of standup fighting to MMA, and 12 rounds is a hell of a long time. If you’ve never done it, you’re in for a rude awakening.

“It’s two different worlds, two different mindsets, and in my opinion, it shouldn’t have been allowed. You must call a spade a spade.”

In the immediate aftermath of the McGregor vs. Mayweather announcement, van Heerden placed himself squarely in the eye of the storm when he took to Twitter and reposted footage of his encounter with the Dubliner:

The 56 seconds in question, which do not show McGregor in the most favorable of lights, had been retweeted 8,300 times in less than a week. The Johannesburg native admitted the move was motivated by self-promotion, but not exclusively so.

“When people ask me why I’ve released this footage now, it’s because it hurts me that there are guys like myself who have been devoted to this sport, risking our lives,” he said. “And to see McGregor, who has zero knowledge of professional boxing, make it out like he could just get out of an octagon, step in the ring and beat up the best pound-for-pound fighter out there – to just make out like our lifestyle is so easy and that anybody could do it, and then for people to be saying he has a big chance of beating Floyd. I just thought, judge for yourself.”

To get to the root of this issue, however, the genesis of van Heerden’s interactions with modern MMA’s figurehead requires retelling.

After defeating Steve Clagget via majority decision in April 2016, van Heerden returned home to South Africa to spend time with his family. The day after he arrived back in the U.S., the 30-year visited his gym to catch up with friends and colleagues.

While there, he was told that there was someone who wished to speak with him. That someone just so happened to be McGregor, who was beginning to plot revenge for his first promotional loss, which came to Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

A rangy southpaw, van Heerden was equipped to mimic Diaz and, following McGregor’s request, he agreed to spar the Irishman, though at no time was he in his employ.

“Conor asked me if I minded moving around with him at some point,” van Heerden said. “I knew it was for the Nate Diaz rematch, but at that same point, the McGregor vs. Mayweather talks caught fire. For me being from South Africa, in America, I needed a way to get my name out over here.

“So, with the talks of the fight with Mayweather going on, if I moved around with Conor, I knew people were going to want to know who I was. So I said yes, but it was a big risk because I was out of shape and hadn’t trained for a month.”

It was at the beginning of their second session that van Heerden said he noticed a profound shift in dynamic.

“We sparred on two different occasions,” he said. “When I sparred with him on the first occasion, which was even worse than the second time, I cut his nose, but it was all fun. We weren’t in there trying to kill each other.

“The next session was the one from where the footage leaked. Conor came in with his camera people, so at the same time, I told one of my friends to take out his phone and record it too.”

Van Heerden claimed that he did not give permission to either his gym or McGregor for anything that was recorded to be published in the public domain. But it was soon in the hands of TMZ, which did just that.

While it came as a shock, one that compelled him to leave the gym permanently, van Heerden said that the great bombshell arrived when McGregor’s website, the, also posted footage of their time in the ring.

Van Heerden said that their version was purposely edited in a manner that showed McGregor to be getting the better of their exchanges.

“Then TMZ released the footage, and I asked the gym owner how they got their hands on it,” he said. “They said they had spoken to Conor, who said it was OK to release the footage. But nobody had ever asked for my approval.”

“Conor McGregor’s team edited and posted footage for the MacLife of the sparring session between me and Conor, and it made me look very bad,” he said. “Then the media blew up, saying ‘Conor McGregor beats up ex-world champion boxer’ and all this.”

Believing his professional reputation was tarnished, van Heerden responded by publishing what had been filmed on his friend’s phone.

“I was in a bad place right there,” he said. “My world was crashing down, because why would these people do this? But I had footage from my friend’s phone, so after about a week of all this, I thought I’m not going to let Conor get away with this.

“So I put out the six-minute unedited version that my friend had, and people can judge from that. I gave it to TMZ, and suddenly, people were like maybe it wasn’t as one-sided as Conor made out.”

Van Heerden stated that there has been no communication with McGregor in the interim, which he took as a tacit admission of guilt.

“Once again, I was just having fun, and if I knew that was going to happen, I would have taken it way more serious,” he said. “Myself and Conor never spoke again after that footage came out, so I don’t think they were very happy with everything that went on. I think it’s because they know they done me bad first, and what goes around comes around.”

It must be said that neither McGregor nor his team has commented publicly on the matter.

But what of the fight itself? It should be noted that, aside from the titles he’s attained, van Heerden, who is currently ranked No.10 in the WBA welterweight rankings, has served as the main sparring partner for boxing luminaries Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, both of whom, incidentally, have been bested by Mayweather.

Furthermore, he spent considerable time under the tutelage of the revered Freddie Roach.

As such, he might just be better placed than anyone to speak to the likelihood of McGregor troubling a man who immeasurably raised the bar for what is considered marquee defensive pugilism.

During a recent interview on “The MMA Hour,” McGregor’s longtime striking coach, Owen Roddy, said that only he, SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh and current UFC featherweight Artem Lobov will be in the McGregor corner come fight night.

This, according to van Heerden, is a grave error. McGregor is likely to bring in figures from the boxing world to assist in his training, but it will not have the same efficacy as enlisting a genuine boxing coach.

“I would go and a beg a Freddie Roach or one of the best trainers in the world, and ask them to teach me whatever they can in the two months,” he said. “He needs to have a boxing trainer in his corner.”

That being said, van Heerden is positive that any gains McGregor might accrue at the knee of a fistic guru will be rendered useless as soon as Mayweather registers a clean connection.

“Whatever Conor has learned in boxing over the last year, the moment Mayweather starts tagging him, he is going forget all of that, and Floyd will make him pay,” he said. “After three or four rounds, Conor is going to realize that it is a different type of fitness. Mayweather is just going to keep tagging him, Conor will get frustrated, start throwing punches, then miss and start to gas. Mayweather will just keep punishing him and then put Conor on his back.”

Moreover, the South African insisted Mayweather’s patented defensive nous and evasive tactics will not be so prominent against McGregor, largely because they will not be required.

“It’s not like Mayweather is up against a guy with exceptional knowledge of boxing,” he said. “Floyd will walk him down, put him on the back foot, and Conor will go into survival mode, and then Mayweather will beat him up.

“Those are the type of punches that put you in the hospital – the ones where you keep taking punishment.”

And yet, van Heerden is an ardent admirer of McGregor’s skill set, which he was pleasantly surprised by, and does tenuously believe there is one, albeit fantastically unlikely, path to the greatest upset in sporting history.

“If he’s to have any chance, Conor, as quick as possible, must drop his chin, pick up his hands and go like a bull,” he said. “That’s my advice. He should take whatever he learns from this, go back to the UFC and keep dominating

“The way he fights in the UFC, he puts his chin out there to taunt you, and he puts his hands down, because he’s so good with that counter precision. He’s going to try that with Mayweather, and it’s not going to work.

“We’re finally going to prove that a boxer is on so much of a higher level than a UFC fighter when it comes to this type of standup fighting. It’s going to be a big win for boxing.”

Van Heerden has certainly felt the full backlash from McGregor’s fans – renowned for their ubiquity and raucousness on social media – for questioning the Dublin man’s prowess, but he’s sure it’ll be worthwhile should his hopes come to pass.

“I’ve spoken to Mayweather’s people, and I want to be on this card,” he said. “We’re No. 10 in the world on the WBA rankings, and I’m challenging Lamont Peterson (WBA welterweight champion). He doesn’t have an opponent, and he’s missed his mandatory 120-day title defense, so he should get off his couch and accept my challenge.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Floyd Mayweather will finish Conor McGregor by Round 3, boxing coach Angelo Reyes says

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

It’s unlike Floyd Mayweather to come out firing when he fights, but boxing coach Angelo Reyes expects that to change against Conor McGregor.

Reyes, a disciple of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, made a bold guarantee of how the fight will go down when the boxing legend and UFC lightweight champion clash in the ring during an appearance on MMAjunkie Radio.

“Mayweather will knock him out in three (rounds) or less,” Reyes said. “Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, well, Floyd is just going to dance around.’ Not in this fight. And he doesn’t dance around. I don’t think he dances around anyway. You have to truly understand the craft of boxing to really understand what he does.”

To back up his prediction, Reyes points to the outcomes of McGregor’s two fights with Nate Diaz, whose specialty is boxing. Diaz made McGregor tap out at UFC 196 in their first fight. In the rematch, McGregor scored a close majority-decision victory after a five-round war at UFC 202, which Reyes believes could be argued the other way.

“Arguable. I can argue it,” Reyes said. “(McGregor) didn’t dominate Nate Diaz. … I’m just saying that he didn’t beat the heck out of Nate Diaz.”

The way Reyes sees it, if McGregor couldn’t dominate a high-level boxer by MMA standards, there’s no way he stands a chance against one of the all-time legends of the sport.

Check out the clip above to hear more from Reyes on the matchup.

And for more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Al Iaquinta gives Conor McGregor chance vs. Floyd Mayweather: 'I hope he shocks the world'

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Not too many people are giving UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor a chance against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in their recently announced Aug. 26 encounter.

But the Irishman has found some perhaps surprising support in fellow UFC 155-pounder and resident truth-teller Al Iaquinta. While Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) does agree with the popular opinion that Mayweather (49-0 boxing) will most likely keep his record unblemished, he’s not counting McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) out.

“(McGregor)’s got the ability to surprise a lot of people,” Iaquinta told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s been doing it since Day 1. I don’t think anyone’s in the position to doubt the guy.

“On the other hand, he’s fighting Floyd, who’s the best of the best. So, defensively, I think (Mayweather) can slow that fight down. He can make it a decision, doesn’t get hit, makes it look easy – doesn’t even really break a sweat kind of thing. I think that’s probably how it goes.”

One of the arguments made in favor of McGregor’s actual shot at winning the match is that Mayweather has a harder time dealing with southpaws – which is McGregor’s case. Iaquinta, however, was there in person to see Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao, also a southpaw, in their 2015 “Fight of the Century.”

So why does Iaquinta think McGregor has a chance?

“The reason I’m giving McGregor a chance is because he’s defied the odds – he’s backed up everything he says,” Iaquinta said. “The first time, you doubt him. The second time, you doubt him. The third time, you know, wherever we’re at right now, he’s talked a lot of (expletive) and he’s backed it up. Honestly, I hope he goes out there and I hope he shocks the world. I hope he does. I think it will be a great story.

“And Floyd Mayweather owes me a couple of grand from that (expletive) ticket I bought. It was the worst fight ever.”

The match between McGregor and Mayweather was announced and detailed this past week, putting an end to months of growing speculation. The two will meet at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, under boxing rules, in a 12-round, 154-pound (super welterweight) affair.

After all the cash that went into a ticket to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao affair, would Iaquinta be willing to do the same to see McGregor try his luck? The answer is no, but he did go from a categorical “not a shot” to a tamer answer upon further reflection.

“I don’t know, though, there’s the shot that McGregor does something big,” Iaquinta said. “You know how crazy that’s going to be? That’s going to be insane. But I’m not going to buy a ticket, no.”

While he’s pulling for his fellow MMA fighter, Iaquinta also knows that Mayweather is the favorite. And he expects this favoritism to grow the further the fight progresses, making McGregor’s chances bigger within the first 15 minutes.

“I think (McGregor)’s got to hit him with a hard left hand pretty early,” Iaquinta said.

But, whatever happens, one thing’s for sure.

“I’m keeping it real,” Iaquinta said. “I think if it goes the way it’s supposed to go, it’s going to be 12 rounds. And who knows if Conor can even go 12 rounds with the guy. He gets a little tired later, gets a little sloppy. But Floyd’s getting up there. He’s never been really a finisher. I don’t know.

“I’ll tell you one thing: I’ll be watching. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a spectacle.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Ice Cube willing to change T-Mobile Arena booking for Mayweather-McGregor – for the right price

Oh, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are fighting in a boxing match on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las vegas?

You better check yo self before you wreck yo self. Ice Cube already has the date and venue booked.

The rapper and actor, who runs the fledgling BIG3, finds himself in a standoff of sorts with the folks behind the Mayweather-McGregor fight. The 3-on-3 basketball league had already locked in its championship game for Aug. 26 at T-Mobile before Mayweather-McGregor was announced last week.

It seemed as though Ice Cube and the BIG3 were digging in last Friday when the league’s official Twitter handle tweeted this, perhaps as a message that they wouldn’t budge:

But now it sounds like Ice Cube is ready to soften his stance – for the right price, of course.

“If they do what they’re supposed to do and make us happy, yeah, we’ll move,” he said during Monday’s episode of “Undisputed” on FS1. “We’re talking about it. I think we can get there.”

TMZ, citing sources connected to the Mayweather-McGregor fight, reports the plan is to move the BIG3 championship game to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. As of Monday afternoon, T-Mobile Arena was still selling tickets for the BIG3 title game on its web site.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: Mayweather-McGregor gives fans what they'll pay for, but is that a good thing?

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Conor McGregor will box Floyd Mayweather in August, primarily for one reason: Many, many people will pay for it. Should we be grateful that combat sports are so responsive to consumers, or can that be a very bad thing at times? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

Fowlkes: Gird your loins, Danny, for we have entered the summer of McMayweather. From now until Aug. 26 (or until one of them pulls out with an injury as the fight gods cackle from on high), we are going to hear a lot about this boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. And when I say a lot, I mean a ridiculous amount.

In the end, if everything goes according to plan, our patience and endurance will be rewarded with what is likely to be an extremely one-sided fight for an extremely high pay-per-view price.

Of course, the reason they can charge so much is because we’ll pay that much. And the reason we’ll pay that much is because, whatever else we might say in the months to come, we really want to see this. As this New Yorker story points out, this is one of the unique things about combat sports. The market dictates the shape of the product. If enough people will pay for a fight, no matter how absurd it might be, chances are they’ll eventually get that fight.

Is that a good thing, though? Particularly in the case of McGregor-Mayweather, are we glad that the economics of the fight game are so immediately responsive to consumer demands? Or are we the kids who gorge ourselves on junk food and then can’t understand why we feel sick afterward?

Downes: I think I’ll respond to those questions with my favorite Fowlkes catchphrase: You’re creating a false dichotomy. I would argue that the fight game is responsive to fans’ demands, but only the demands the fight game itself created.

Nobody asked for Mayweather vs. McGregor until the two of them started hyping it up. Now that the deal is done, the promoters will spend the next couple months telling you why you need to buy this, even convincing you that it will be a competitive fight.

It’s like that scene in “The Devil Wears Prada” where Meryl Streep explains to Ann Hathaway how the fashion industry chooses the trends and styles, and you’re never exempt from it even when you think you’re making your own choices.

Although in this case, we’re not talking about Oscar de la Renta (or Oscar de la Hoya), but The Money Team. You can say a lot of things about Mayweather, but the man knows how to keep himself relevant. He’s 40 years old, he’s never been known for exciting fights, and he’s a domestic abuser. Yet he still finds ways to get people to throw down money to watch him compete.

Why? Why do we want to watch a 49-0 professional boxer fight an MMA fighter with no professional boxing experience? I include myself in that question. I’m not giving McGregor a 0 percent chance to win, but I’m also not giving him much more than that.

I assume that’s something we both agree on. But I’m also sure that both of us will watch it. Is it that the combined charisma of McMayweather too hard to resist, or is there something else here?

Fowlkes: You know, sometimes I wonder if meeting you was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Then you force me to watch a clip from “The Devil Wears Prada” and I’m sure of it.

There’s definitely something else here. The foundation for this entire project is the boxing vs. MMA debate. The same way MMA was built on the premise of throwing all the martial arts styles into one cage to see which one reigns supreme, this fight is based on the same basic idea.

The reason it’s taking place in the sport of boxing and not some sort of mixed rules middle ground is because a) Mayweather is the A side, so the mountain must come to Muhammad in this case, and b) MMA already is a mixed rules middle ground of sorts.

That compromise on McGregor’s part both raises and lowers the stakes. If he loses, hey, who expected him to outbox the best boxer? But then, he’s also going in there as MMA’s representative, and if he gets completely clowned I think it’s going to sting more than many of us realize right now.

But let’s be honest and admit that we’re not just paying for a fight here. What we’re paying for is an event. We’re paying for something that feels, whether rightly or wrongly, like history. A boxer at the top of his sport against an MMA fighter at the top of his. Two huge personalities clashing in one ring. A classic this-town-ain’t-big-enough-for-both-of-us showdown.

You know that big fight feeling? Know how you get these weird jitters just before it happens, even if you have no personal stake in the outcome? It’s all that drama and ceremony that gets cranked up full volume with the promise of a meaningful crescendo. That’s what we’re paying for. We’re paying to be a part of that collective feeling, and to feel it together all at the same time.

That’s what’s on offer here, and I think we know it even if we don’t always say it. We want that feeling, but we need huge, historic figures from both sports in order to get it. What I wonder is, once we’ve gotten it, will a part of us wish we hadn’t?

Downes: Even though you hurt my feelings on my first Father’s Day, I have to agree with you to a certain extent. The stakes are different here. McGregor is the top MMA draw, but I can’t think of any MMA fight that would get him this type of attention. We’d like to see him face Max Holloway or Tony Ferguson, but they don’t bring the drama or ceremony you mentioned.

We’ll enjoy the spectacle and the hype, but if the fight stinks, what do we have? A movie with a terrible ending can ruin the whole thing and I think that same principle applies to the fight game. Remember Mayweather vs. Pacquiao? That had a “big fight” feel and all the pomp and circumstance surrounding it. People who hadn’t cared about boxing in years crowded into bars or friends’ houses to watch it. Then the fight was dull and uninteresting.

How do you think fans look back at that fight now? They think it was a waste of money. No one speaks longingly about that fight. No one remembers all the hype and excitement surrounding it, either. A few people made a ton of money off it and millions of fans were disappointed. Mayweather vs. McGregor has a different wrinkle to it, but a gimmick can only get you so far.

There’s going to be a lot of wild speculation in the coming months. This fight will be all over television and radio. Your social media feeds are going to be inundated with lots of bad takes. It’s going to overshadow a lot of other legitimate contests in both boxing and MMA. When it’s all over, though, what will we have? We know that Mayweather vs. McGregor is good business, but will it be good sport?

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


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Source: MMA Junkie

Tony Ferguson praises Conor McGregor for Mayweather fight, expects UFC return to 'solidify that legacy'

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Tony Ferguson struggles to hate on Conor McGregor for turning his dream of competing against Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match into reality. However, he hopes that once “The Notorious” is done with his crossover into the ring, he comes back to the octagon to defend his UFC lightweight title.

Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) has been gunning for a crack at the UFC belt during his current nine-fight winning streak at 155 pounds. McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) has been absent from the division since capturing the title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November, and in the meantime “El Cucuy” has attempted to position himself as the next to challenge for the gold.

He came close to locking up the No. 1 contender spot when he was scheduled to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209 in March. But the fight fell apart the day of the weigh-ins when Nurmagomedov botched his weight cut and was hospitalized.

Conor McGregor

Ferguson, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, encouraged No.1-ranked McGregor to give up on the Mayweather fight and come back to the UFC and defend his title. But now that it’s clear what the Irishman has planned for immediate future, Ferguson said it’s time for the division to move on.

“I have to say congratulations (to McGregor); that’s a (expletive) of money for them,” Ferguson told MMAjunkie. “That’s a lot of (expletive) lettuce, but don’t forget about the UFC cage, because you’re holding onto my belt. I’m over here. Let’s fight for an interim belt while Conor is doing his other thing. Let’s get something going. The interim title is vacant. That (expletive) needs to be in my hands. (I’m on a) nine-fight winning streak, and 10 sounds better, so let’s get it moving.”

After the Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov fight fell apart earlier this year, the UFC worked on booking a bout with No. 7-ranked Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) at UFC 213 in July. The promotion couldn’t reach terms with Diaz, though, and Ferguson has been left in limbo since. “The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner said he’s not holding out hope that Diaz will change his mind, and while he would be open to re-booking a showdown with Nurmagomedov, he said at this point he just wants to compete for a belt.

“I want the interim title fight,” Ferguson said. “They offered it to Nate Diaz – I’m not sure what his problem is. I’m not sure if he’s ever going to fight again. I really don’t think he will, or Nick (Diaz), because I think they’re just so busy doing their things. They just want to keep their legacies secure and they don’t want to add another loss to their records. They’ve got plenty of them. At least Nate does. I’m 23-3, nine (wins) in a row, and my skills are getting way, way better. … There needs to be a real champ in this division, and I’m that guy.”

As Ferguson, 33, attempts to sort out his own future, he admitted he will keep an eye on McGregor. Like many others, Ferguson is keen to see what happens when an MMA fighter with no pro boxing bouts enters the ring against one of the best to ever compete in the sport. The Aug. 26 match with Mayweather, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view, is just over two months away, and if McGregor is going to stand even the slightest chance, Ferguson said he needs to make rapid improvements.

“I have to say that Conor’s boxing is not up to par,” Ferguson said. “It is not up to par to how Mayweather’s boxing is going to be. … I’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt: Stay hungry, stay on that (expletive), try to knock his ass out. Mayweather, the same thing – Conor is going to try to knock you out, dude, so both of you boys are going to have your hands full. Better train your asses off. We want to see a good fight. If I’m going to spend my money on it, I want to see a good fight.”

Although Ferguson doesn’t like McGregor’s odds of giving Mayweather a competitive fight, he said he admires his willingness to step outside his comfort zone and take on a seemingly impossible task. McGregor turned what was once considered an impossible idea into his reality, and while Ferguson said he can’t help but respect that, he also thinks McGregor bit off more than he can chew.

“Conor is not going to lose anything off it because he’s taking a chance in another sport, and I have to give homeboy credit, because that’s cool,” Ferguson said. “I was always a multi-sport athlete when I was younger, and this right here is dope. I would love to box. I want to go into GLORY and I want to kickbox. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines. I like to stay active. I have to say that with Conor, you have to step up your boxing skills. You’re messing with a lion in there. MMA is a completely different sport. You are a striker, son, not a boxer. This is boxing. You’re not going to be able to go in there and strike. It’s a different sport and a different animal.”

Sports business analysts have already forecasted a potential $100 million payday for McGregor should his boxing match with Mayweather live up to potential metrics. If the payout is anywhere close to that number, McGregor’s financial security would presumably be secured for life, and therefore his incentive to return to the UFC would be dampened.

Ferguson said he’s not worried about McGregor leaving the sport permanently, though, because even if his pockets are filled, he said he believes the UFC champ also has a competitive desire that can’t be fulfilled by money. UFC President Dana White has said that McGregor has every intention of defending his UFC title before the end of the year, and while it remains to be seen if that’s true, Ferguson said he’s confident he will eventually see McGregor inside the octagon.

“Win or lose, I think Conor is an athlete; I think he’s going to have it in his head that he’s not going to have to sit on the sidelines,” Ferguson said. “I see it in Conor’s face, I see it in his mannerisms that he’s hungry, that’s he’s always going to want to dig to try and get the bigger, better picture. He’s made that money, so maybe he’s not trying to look after the money part. He wants to secure that legacy and he wants to go down in the books.

“I say if you want to go down in the books after your boxing match, come over to MMA and test it one more time. You have to test it one or two more times against top-notch competitors. People that make the weight, that show up. … Handle your business, come back to the UFC. We’re all going to be sitting here waiting, watching, and make that money, do your thing and don’t be scared. Come back and play that game a little bit more. I would hate to see that talent go to (expletive). You’ve got a lot of talent, you’ve got a lot of energy, and come back and use it in the 155-pound division. Let’s fight over that belt, baby. Let’s go.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie