Will the long-rumored Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight happen after all? As of Friday, there are reportedly 50 million more reasons why the mega-event could actually take place, possibly on December 31 of this year, creating the ultimate New Year’s Eve party for fans of both the undefeated boxing champ, and the controversial UFC mixed martial arts star.
According to a report by TMZ Sports on Friday, Mayweather wants to make the fight happen on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas — and he has offered McGregor a $50 million payday to get into the ring, assuming, that is, that the fight would take place in a boxing ring and not a UFC octagon.
— Marina Lem (@00best77) May 20, 2016
But will $50 million be enough for McGregor to agree to what would be the historic, inter-sport fight? According to the TMZ report, the pay-per-view revenue expected from a Mayweather vs. McGregor showdown would be substantially more than enough to double a $50 million purse.
In other words, by offering McGregor what appears to be a staggering sum to take the fight, Mayweather may actually be shortchanging the Irish-born, 27-year-old, 145-pounder, who has won 19 of his 22 mixed martial arts bouts.
And what would a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight actually look like? UFC broadcast personality Joe Rogan discusses the prospect in the video below. Viewers should be warned that the Rogan video contains profanity.
Mayweather, of course, has already staked his claim as one of the greatest boxers the sport has ever known, compiling an unblemished 49-0 record over a 19-year professional career, winning championships in the super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight divisions.
But though Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the unquestioned king of pay-per-view fight events in either boxing or mixed martial arts in the United States, in many overseas markets McGregor is the bigger draw, according to the TMZ report — meaning that UFC President Dana White, who would have to approve any fight involving McGregor, is certain to demand a far greater share of the purse for his fighter.
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Another question surrounding the possible fight is whether or not Mayweather is actually serious about the $50 million offer, or did he design it simply to keep his name in headlines, knowing that McGregor would turn the fight down.
“I think Mayweather is using it to keep current,” legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum — who handled Mayweather’s early career — said in an interview this week.
Like most boxing experts, Arum sees the prospect of a fight between Mayweather and McGregor as unlikely, due to the simple fact that regardless of whether the fight is contested under MMA rules, or boxing rules, one of the two athletes would be competing in an unfamiliar sport for the first time.
“I mean, look, these guys can either fight with MMA rules in which case its no contest because Mayweather will get pinned,” Arum said. “Or they can fight boxing in which case it’s a no contest because this guy isn’t a boxer and Floyd will destroy him.”
Arum said that the idea of Mayweather vs. McGregor reminded him of a 1976 exhibition match, which Arum promoted, pitting then-heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali against Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) May 20, 2016
Nonetheless, the curiosity factor especially among non-boxing fans could be extremely high, driving pay-per-view revenues to record heights even if the fight itself is inevitably a disappointment, according to Forbes Magazine sports business correspondent Kurt Badenhauser.
“The $50 million offer is similar to the $40 million Mayweather offered Pacquiao in 2012 to try and make that fight happen,” Badenhauser wrote. “Pacquiao smartly turned it down and eventually banked $125 million when the fight happened three years later.”
The difference is, though Conor McGregor presumably has a long career ahead of him, should he choose to pursue it, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has already “retired” and would be 39-years-old before a fight took place on New Year’s Eve, making the McGregor fight the swan song of his career — with no prospect of returning three years later.
[Featured Photos By Patrick McDermott/Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]