There is nothing that makes you want something more than hearing you cannot have it. For over a year, the MMA media has said again-and-again that a crossover fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor would never happen – after all, even Dana White said it. They pointed out it took 6 years to make Mayweather/Pacquiao and those two were both boxers. They said adding the UFC into the equation would add yet another obstacle vis-à-vis the Reebok Deal, cross promotion questions, PPV percentage points, and perhaps Dana White himself. So while the media played the role of your dream girl saying, “it’ll never happen” the UFC and Mayweather Productions/Showtime came through in a big way last Wednesday when they announced the fight was on.
Since the news of the fight broke, MayGregor has been called everything from a money-grab, to a sham, to the biggest fight ever made. There are so many different “hot takes” relating to this fight, most utterly uninformed, but a select few merit further exploration.
If Mayweather/Pacquiao was an obvious money-grab, than MayGregor deserves that title ten-fold. However the intention of a fight does not always correlate with its result. Aldo/McGregor was set to be one of the most competitive fights in UFC history and ended in 13 seconds. Just because this fight is about as one-sided as it gets (on paper) doesn’t preclude a relatively competitive/entertaining contest. Clearly this fight is a money-grab but conventional wisdom is often thrown out the window in combat sports, though not as often as it is confirmed as true.
Those who attempt to ascribe some semblance of legitimacy onto this bout look to mold certain facts to fit that narrative. They say the Irishman is younger, faster, stronger, bigger, and more powerful than the American. They point out Mayweather’s recent inactivity and question his ability to take punishment (as he has never had to). But by scraping together a few redundancies, proponents of this narrative, who are either hardcore McGregor fans or the promoters themselves, neglect to mention the obvious.
“Money” Mayweather has been boxing longer than McGregor has been alive. He has beaten some of the best power punchers in boxing, not to mention other all around greats, and at 40 years of age has taken little to no damage throughout his career. Besides being 49-0, the Former Champion is touted as the best defensive boxer in the history of the sport while “The Notorious” has never had even a single amateur fight.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, the near mythic status of the UFC’s Lightweight Champion continues to enchant casual and diehard fans alike. The SBG product has time-and-again defied the odds by beating some of MMA’s best. He has gone from being on welfare to securing a purported $100 million fight in a little over 4 years. He has beaten the greatest Featherweight ever, and become the first consecutive 2-weight Champion in UFC history. Is it any wonder that many continue to believe that McGregor will shock his detractors yet again?
Regardless of his unique penchant for the grandest stage, “The Notorious” will face a challenge wholly novel to any he has before. His past accomplishments are absolutely impressive but they do not quite translate to this crossover fight. Yes he has been an under dog before, that much is not new, but when you compete in the same sport the degree to which you are favored to win or lose narrows substantially in comparison to a sport you no officially formal experience.
MayGregor is a fight that most combat sports fans hate, some love, and everyone will watch. In spite of the obvious money grab, the clear mismatch, and the carnivalesque nature of this bout, millions will tune in to watch. The bright amongst us will know better than to shell out $100 (or however much the PPV ends up being) but rest assured, regardless of the ridiculousness of this event the UFC, Showtime, and MayGregor will come out with heavy pockets and shit-eating grins.