While Conor McGregor has a green light to box in California, he’s just been rejected for a license in Nevada: Host to every Mayweather fight for the past decade. That is just one of an extraordinary set of obstacles that stand between the fight ever taking place.
Tim Elbra of Fox Sports is spot on with his list of reasons why this fight could, should, and would NEVER happen:
AN UNBEATEN ALL-TIME LEGEND VS A DEBUTANT
Take the hype out of it: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor is a 49-0 legend, with an Olympic medal-winning amateur career prior, against a guy in his first professional boxing match. It makes no sense.
Top boxing writer Dan Rafael of ESPN raised the sanctioning issue.
“No chance. Zero,” he wrote. “For a million reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Mayweather, when he fights, is the best boxer on the planet and McGregor would essentially be making his professional boxing debut and, frankly, I have serious doubts a commission even would approve such a dangerous mismatch. The same would be said if Mayweather was seeking to fight in MMA (which he would never even remotely consider).”
Veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum also dropped some blunt truths on the touted fight.
“I’d jump at the chance if Conor wanted to sign on … but I would warn him about the huge odds against him,” Arum told TMZ. “It’d be a joke. Floyd would take out McGregor whenever he wanted.”
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe also weighed in via ESPN: “The brass (new owners WME-IMG) who recently purchased the UFC are very smart people and they would never — and put this in bold caps — let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.”
FLOYD FIGHTS IN VEGAS, WHERE BEEFING CONOR ISN’T LICENCED
Mayweather’s last 14 fights, spanning a decade, have taken place in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Furthermore, Mayweather hasn’t fought in the jurisdiction where McGregor got his first US boxing licence – California – since 2003 and has had just five bouts in the Golden State.
Mayweather’s last 12 fights have taken place at the MGM Grand and 23 of his 49 pro fights were in Nevada. Bottom line: He fights in Vegas, period.
McGregor will pursue boxing licenses in a number of other states but the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that ‘The Notorious’ has already been denied in his application to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“Mr. McGregor is an incredibly gifted fighter and athlete. He obviously knows what he’s doing as a fighter and I have the utmost respect for his abilities,” NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told the Review-Journal. “But it is a different sport.”
MCGREGOR IS WAY OFF HIS NEXT FIGHT, LET ALONE IN BOXING
Having just claimed the UFC lightweight title, becoming the first fighter to hold two belts at once in the promotion, McGregor’s stocks are at an all-time high in MMA.
Having relinquished his featherweight belt, he faces a challenge he hasn’t met to date: Defending a championship, having never done is at 145 pounds (65kg) despite holding the belt for 11 months.
He will make his first-ever title defense at 155 pounds (70kg) and he is set to face a formidable foe, with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson the top two contenders. Russian Nurmagomedov holds a 24-0 record, with eight UFC wins, while Ferguson is 23-3, boasting a nine-fight winning streak and just a single loss from 13 UFC bouts.
If that wasn’t enough on his plate, McGregor has a major personal issue to deal with: The birth of his first child. White has said his megastar will not fight before the May due date and tacking on preparation camp time, it seems unlikely he’ll fight until the second half of 2017.
?THE PROMOTION AND REVENUE LOGISITICS WOULD BE A NIGHTMARE
Mayweather, who for one thing would want to control the pay-per-view deal after turning his Manny Pacquiao superfight into a $400 million TV jackpot, claimed he had tried and failed to make the McGregor bout.
“I think the fight is very difficult to make,” he told TMZ. “I mean, I tried to make the fight before and it didn’t happen. But you live and learn.”
White, now working for new management after WME-IMG’s $4 billion UFC takeover in July, actually used the horribly drawn-out process of making the Pacquiao fight as a prime example of the enormous challenges.
“Let me put it to you this way,” White told ESPN in May. “Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are in the same sport. It took how long for those two to fight? Now imagine how hard it would be to get (Mayweather and McGregor) to fight. They’re not in the same sport.
“Is this thing going to be MMA or boxing rules? Who’s getting the lion’s share of the money? This and that. It’s impossible. But like I’ve said, Floyd, you want to fight Conor, call me.”
McGregor declared he wanted $100 million for the fight, which would surely be no problem with PPV sales, but the actual purse and revenue split is another matter – especially with two gigantic egos involved.
FLOYD ACTUALLY SEEMS TO BE SICK OF THE CONCEPT
The latest noise about McGregor vs Mayweather has all been initiated by the UFC fighter’s camp, with ‘The Notorious’ declaring Floyd was running around Showtime’s offices trying to find his money and his coach John Kavanagh claiming he wouldn’t be surprised if the bout happened in 2017.
The noise from Mayweather’s camp has taken a decidedly more negative turn, suggesting that McGregor does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the unbeaten legend, let alone share a ring with him.
Mayweather (via TMZ): “I didn’t know Conor McGregor was undefeated. I didn’t know he had a reign in MMA for 20 years and was undefeated and was world champion in five different weight classes. That’s something I didn’t know. So I guess you guys are telling me something new if you say he’s the Floyd Mayweather of the MMA.
“If you say he’s the Floyd Mayweather of the MMA, I’m trying to find out have you ever made $300 million in one night? Have you ever made $100 million in one night? Have you ever made $70 million in one night. So as far as saying he’s the Floyd Mayweather of MMA — it’s OK to say it but it’s not true.”
Mayweather promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe (via ESPN): “Nobody is mad but it’s a con job trying to make people think this is real and even mentioning him and TBE (The Best Ever, Mayweather’s nickname) in the same breath is disrespectful, completely disrespectful. Isn’t this the same guy who tapped out three fights ago?
“The con game is over. Go out there and worry about dominating the UFC because three fights ago he lost, he was quitting. You couldn’t even mention the word quit with Floyd Mayweather. And, like I said, [McGregor] can’t do anything without the UFC’s approval. There’s no way [WME-IMG] spent all that money so they can get their biggest star killed. It would never happen. If they want to get him killed put him in there in a boxing match.”
The irony is, Mayweather created the monster, having claimed credit for starting the superfight rumour. There have also been reports that the Mayweather and McGregor camps cooked up a plan for both megastars to use the other’s name in a mutually-beneficial self-promotion blitz, in a secret meeting in Vegas last December.