It was just last month when Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza said the potential superfight between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and boxing icon Floyd Mayweather was doubtful. At that time, he claimed negotiations were at a standstill because the UFC did not want to actually go through with the fight.
But now, things have certainly changed. In a recent interview, Espinoza noted that the network is hoping the McGregor-Mayweather fight can take place in the fall, though it could be held in 2018 depending on how negotiations go.
UFC President Dana White and McGregor recently came to terms on an agreement, and now they are negotiating with Mayweather and his team.
"I think the date really is a function of how long it takes to get a deal done because the reality is, it took a long time for the UFC and Conor to reach an agreement to allow Conor to participate," Espinoza said. "Now the real negotiations start which is the Floyd side versus the Conor-UFC side. If that drags on, then you’re probably looking at late this year. If it really drags on, then you’re looking at early next year.
"But if people are as motivated as they seem to be — I know how badly Floyd wants it — if we get this wrapped up pretty quickly, we could be seeing it early fall. That’s the goal."
According to White, the date of Sept. 16 was the original planned date for this big showdown before it was given to the upcoming middleweight title bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. But Espinoza says the date is not of too much importance, because McGregor vs. Mayweather is a fight that will bring in money regardless.
"We’re dealing with an event that’s massive," Espinoza said. "The only comparison that people can really make is Mayweather-Pacquiao and you could have done that any day except Super Bowl Sunday and it would’ve been massive. So I don’t think the date will make a difference commercially."