Now that the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match is in the books, fight fans can get back to following their respective sports and see fighters from each one take on one another without another crossover bout happening anytime soon.
Not so fast, says Stephen Espinoza — Showtime Sports vice president and general manager — as more crossover fights could take place in the future given the massive success of Mayweather vs. McGregor.
“A friend of mine text me after the event and he said, ‘This could be Super Bowl 1.’ He said, ‘When they did Super Bowl 1, they never thought that this would give rise to an entity like the NFL. It was the uniting of two different business.’ I’m not saying that we’re going to meld all of combat sport into one organization, but, it’s interesting to think about. Is this something that is this more than just a one-off?” declared Espinoza on a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
The event reportedly broke the pay-per-view (PPV) box office -- and its carriers — with a Mayweather vs. McGregor doing around 4.6 million buys. Stephen, though, knows not every future crossover event will do those numbers, but says there are still a few matchups that could do very well.
“I think at this level of success, you can take some things from it, but not everything. You can’t expect everything to be at this level of success or even half of that level,” said Stephen.
“You had a perfect storm of a lot of different factors. I do think there a limited number of athletes who have the appeal, desire and the skill to do both. I think it’s a business opportunity on both sides. Now, on some level it’s up to the MMA promoters whether that’s something they feel like that is something that benefits them or their athletes in the long run. But from this side of the table, I think it’s really intriguing and we’d love to do more of them.”
It it makes dollars, it makes sense, though not everyone agrees.
According to Espinoza, there has been a “good number” of male and female MMA fighters who have reached out to him expressing interest in switching over to the boxing world much like Conor.
Names were kept close to the vest, though.
That said, there have been countless of current UFC stars who have expressed their desire to step into the boxing ring (like this one and this one). Whether or not UFC is ready to loan out one of its champions to the boxing world, is another thing.