The most unlikely fight in combat sports comes closer to fruition, according to FloCombat, who’s reported that the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been booked for June 10 to host a crossover megafight between “The Notorious” MMA superstar Conor McGregor and boxing kingpin Floyd Mayweather.
A lot more needs to happen for this to be a reality, though.
This is the latest in a series of developments surrounding both Mayweather and McGregor, who’s the current lightweight champion of the UFC. Mayweather held multiple championship titles in the WBC, which were relinquished when he retired in 2015. Mayweather has been repeatedly cited, by ESPN among others, as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport, as he is undefeated in his career (49-0).
Mayweather, if he returns, would be coming off a decisive victory over Andre Berto. Before that, Mayweather defeated long-time rival Manny Pacquiao. If and when Mayweather clashes with McGregor, it could potentially be his 50th victory in the sport.
McGregor, an active fighter and champion in a non-boxing organization, has a lot more baggage. In fact, if anything were to prevent the fight from happening, it would likely be because of McGregor and the UFC. As reported by MMA Mania, UFC President Dana White had first made an offer to both McGregor and Mayweather for a contracted $25 million payout, but retracted his statement, adding that the chances of the superfight happening “are about the same of me being the backup quarterback for Brady on Sunday.”
McGregor would have no issue making weight for the boxing bout, but faces obstacles just about everywhere else because he has too many loose ends. McGregor is the former featherweight champion, but was forced to give up the title due to inactivity in the division. He knocked out the former champion in just 13 seconds of the first round, unified the belts, and then moved up in weight and never once defended the featherweight title. McGregor chose to fight at both welterweight and lightweight, and secured yet another KO to earn the lightweight title.
Since McGregor is still a champion in the UFC, and already has a reputation for not defending his featherweight strap, it’s unlikely that Dana White and the organization would let him step away from his contractual duties. On top of his attachment to the lightweight division, McGregor’s contract prevents him from competing in striking competitions outside of the UFC, per the Bleacher Report.
Contracts aside, McGregor might have personal reasons for sticking to the UFC. McGregor suffered his first lost in the UFC at the hands of Nate Diaz, a boxing prodigy who stepped up to welterweight for the bout. Diaz made McGregor submit with a rear-naked choke. The two clashed in a second bout, this time at lightweight, where McGregor edged out a decision win. Diaz tweeted a link to his Instagram account last Friday, accompanied with the word “slapped.” Diaz would only taunt McGregor if he were interested in a third match-up to prove who the better fighter is.
Slapped ???? https://t.co/ORZhkd5zLZ
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 11, 2017
Between his contract, defending his belt, and defending his pride, McGregor isn’t in the right spot to transition into the boxing ring. The lightweight division is exploding with talented fighters who are all chomping at the bit to challenge McGregor. If McGregor were to step away from the UFC to train for a boxing match, he’d leave his belt and division on total standby, and rob potential contenders of their chance at the title.
The issues on Mayweather’s end are simpler, according to Boxing News 24; he wants money, $100 million to be specific. Aside from the price tag, nothing is keeping Mayweather from fighting as he announced he was coming out of retirement. With Mayweather out of retirement, and the T-Mobile Arena booked, the only missing piece is McGregor.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves]