Tonight (Sat., Aug. 26, 2017) the biggest combat sports spectacle ever between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor will go down inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, airing live on pay-per-view (PPV) courtesy of Showtime Boxing. It was a long, winding and at times painfully awkward road, but somehow, someway we have finally arrived at our destination. It’s a destination that just seven months ago Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White joked that he had a better chance of backing up Tom Brady in the Superbowl than McGregor fighting Mayweather in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match.
Indeed, Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) approved a match between a 40-year-old retired — and undefeated (49-0) — boxing legend in Mayweather who has not competed in more than two years against a 29-year-old two-division UFC champion who will step inside the boxing ring for the first time as a professional. The commissioner insisted that money had nothing to do with the decision, but it’s impossible to argue that this is not all about the Benjamins. White has even admitted that this fight “makes a lot of sense for his business.” And with that business in a PPV freefall since its mind-boggling $4 billion sale to WME | IMG a few years ago, promoting a crossover combat sports match up like this is fantastic for the bottomline.
Over time, White’s message about McGregor’s chances against the greatest defensive, counter-punching boxer of all time have grown from “no guarantees” to a straight-faced bold prediction. Even Mayweather has cunningly suggested that “Notorious” has a chance to win later tonight -- anything can happen! Of course, that is true, but to do so against a man who has frustrated and defeated the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar de la Hoya and Jose Luis Castillo, among a laundry list of other highly-skilled boxers, is a near-impossible task.
Nevertheless, we’re going to give it a go.
And despite McGregor’s long odds and lopsided skill and experience inside the squared circle, fight fans around the world are going to reach into their wallets and pay upward of $100 to watch it. We’re curious cats, even if we know better. Because White, McGregor and even Mayweather have planted that seed of doubt — what if Conor McGregor is able to shock the world ... just what if?
Well, there’s a word for that, hippodrome, and it dates way back.
A sporting contest that was not on the level, but was held solely for financial gain. Many were fixed or fake matches, but not always — it also referred to real matches in which one of the contestants had no real chance, but all that was needed was for the audience to be convinced that a fight’s outcome that was predetermined was still competitive enough to spend their money. What if? Just maybe. Anything can happen! Those are the words of carnies, con men, black jack dealers and fight promoters.
And, true to form, UFC has pulled out all the promotional stops:
Rest assured that the fight tonight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will not be fixed — both men have so much more on the line than just personal gain. But, by the same token, don’t get it twisted — this is all about money — lots and lots of money — regardless of what the people promoting this event will
sell tell you.
For much more on “Mayweather vs. McGregor” be sure to hit up our comprehensive (and impressive) collection of event-related stories right here.