Over the past few months there has seemed to be a lot of progress made concerning a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Both fighters want the fight, but recently one very important figure in the negotiations has made statements that has fans less optimistic that the fight will happen.
In an interview with Chris Mannix (per MMAFighting), Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza talked about the fight and said that he still had doubts about the UFC’s role in the negotiations.
“The biggest battle in Mayweather-Pacquiao was both guys really thinking that the other wanted to do it,” said Espinoza. “That part has happened [with McGregor and Mayweather], so I think the real question – and it’s sort of a black box right now – is where’s the UFC really, on this? Do they, in fact, want it? Dana – speaking on behalf of, I assume, the UFC – is making noises that he’s more open to it but talk is talk. I haven’t seen a lot of progress either internally in the deal between the two of them or externally, the deal between that side and this side.
“It’s largely at a standstill. There hasn’t been a ton of progress and I think if they don’t move relatively quickly, people may move on. People may tire of it. But it really is something that needs to happen this year or it probably won’t happen. Floyd’s on 18 months, two solid years come September since he’s fought. He’s still in great shape, but at a certain point, he’s not gonna do it after a while.”
Espinoza went on to say that he believes the UFC is worried about what would happen beyond a Mayweather mega-fight, and that they fear that McGregor would never fight in the UFC again after making such a major payday.
These comments come a week after UFC President Dana White said that he and McGregor will soon finalize their side of the deal before he sits down with Mayweather’s camp. While Espinoza’s statements certainly do not mean that the fight won’t happen, they are a reminder that with such a complicated negotiation process, there is still a ways to go.