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Midnight Mania! Dana White ordered not to let McGregor touch Mayweather

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The circus came to town again tonight. After two stops in Los Angeles and Toronto, respectively, the McGregor-Mayweather World Tour stopped in New York today. The consensus was that it was awful. After a pretty entertaining stop in Toronto, the pair seemed out of ideas and the crowd — kept waiting for hours — hated it. Moreover, Conor McGregor went on a painful racial monologue that made him seem anywhere from embarrassingly clueless to outright racist. It also saw Floyd Mayweather shout “Form Voltron” to surround McGregor with his own huge bodyguards in a tense, awkward scuffle that barely kept from coming to blows.

It was ... something, especially because after yesterday’s presser, Dana White related that he has very specific orders to keep McGregor and Mayweather from coming into contact with each other. It seems Mayweather was happy to let his bodyguards do his intimidating for him. But, Mayweather himself is not to be touched. Dana related:

Al Haymon gave me specific directions to make sure Conor McGregor does not touch Floyd Mayweather. So yeah, I’ll be in the middle.

White detailed the intuition he has developed over the years as to when it is necessary to step between two fighters at a staredown.

You have two guys that are supposed to fight each other get in there and stand face-to-face while firing insults at each other, one of them touch the other and things go bad. It’s not worth it. Yeah, I’ve been doing this for a long time. The thing is all about disrespect. If somebody gets touched, they feel they have to touch the other guy, and when two people who want to fight start touching each other, it’s never a good thing.

Awkward wording aside, all of this is theater. Especially with this much money on the line, no one wants to go too far and ruin the show. However, after today, it is easy to see how the situation could get carried away. Dana White has never had one fighter sic a posse of gigantic bodyguards on another fighter. After the “Form Voltron” moment today, one wonders how McGregor’s mindset is, especially when he was already talking about breaking the rules:

“Tell him, as long as he speaks my name with respect, I will abide by the boxing rules,” McGregor said at a press scrum for print media. “I’ll abide by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Only if he speaks my name. If he disrespects me during this tour, during this build up, then maybe I might just bounce an elbow off his eyebrow. That’s on him how he does it.

McGregor, of course, was referring to the boxing match itself, not the press tour. He stands to lose a lot of money if he breaks the boxing rules. It should be an empty threat, and he knows it, but it serves a purpose- to remind everyone who would win in a “real fight.” McGregor is planting the seeds, so that when he gets schooled on August 26th, he can say it was only because he agreed to a truncated set of rules- in other words, a boxing match, not a fight. His own threats aside, Mayweather would never have considered fighting under another ruleset. He’s the best in the world at what he does, and has zero reason to consider fighting McGregor on any other terms than his own. Now, it seems he would be more interested in letting others defend him anyway.

McGregor is making sure even a knockout loss will leave his pride intact:

“If his head gets down low, I might just wrap it up in a strangle,” McGregor said. “You know it takes three seconds to sleep a man from a strangle? An untrained neck, not used to it, it takes two seconds. So if I wrap around his neck and strangle him, he will be asleep within two seconds. On the canvas in that ring. That’s quicker than it will take you to come into the ring. So be very, very respectful with how you speak my name.”



I’m sick of covering this whole tour, but this is an interesting question for mixed martial arts (MMA) journalists: How is drug testing working? Who is running it?

An update on the fight card:

See, this is the real Jon Jones. He has finally learned to embrace who he is and not varnish it for the public.

The pointlessness of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) aside, Gaethje-Alvarez is a dream fight.

Dustin Poirier is none too happy about it, though:

Slips, Rips, and KO Clips

For everyone who has suffered through this press conference tour, lose yourself in these excellent UFC debuts courtesy of Bestrafer7.


Podcasts and Video

Bushido Talk:

In case you missed it, the Promotional Malpractice Live Chat:

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