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The Superfight Nobody and Everybody Wants

TAGs: boxing, mma

The rumors about a McGregor-Mayweather fight aren’t dying down anytime soon.

The Superfight Nobody and Everybody WantsI have said before that I would pay to see Conor McGregor fight anyone. Throw the UFC roster at him and let’s see how it pans out. I think he’s that talented and that fun to watch. There’s almost no part of me that wants to see McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather.

It feels like there are a lot of hurdles for a McGregor-Mayweather superfight (that’s the last time I’m going to call it that, I promise). Dana White has laughed off the idea while McGregor and Mayweather continue to play that strange, flirty social media game where they make fun of each other passively aggressively. I’m sure the governing body of boxing and Las Vegas will also have something to say about it.

The reality is that it’s not that hard for this fight to become an actual thing. McGregor quits or retires from the UFC, signs the contract and away we go.

The question is whether or not you care enough about the fight to provide these guys the rather large fortune they stand to bank off of it.

“WOULD YOU TAKE A PUNCH FROM TYSON FOR $1 MILLION?”

If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, this was a frequent question. I remember being asked by friends at grade school and saying “yes”. I remember it overwhelming dinner conversation at the house one night, mostly because my mother was so terrified that her son could be so dumb. It still percolates in to drunken bar conversations. You know you’ve asked or answered this question if you’re old enough.

The two main differences with McGregor-Mayweather are pretty simple: we’re not talking about just a million bucks here, and the potential of dying because Tyson punched you is real. Mayweather can devastate you, but he lacks that life-ending power that made Tyson so vicious. At worst, you end up with a head knock and a ton of embarrassment that lives forever in infamy on the internet.

In essence, McGregor is risking it all for that all mighty dollar and putting his reputation on the line for the chance to have enough money in the bank to give the world the finger for the rest of his life.

That only happens, however, if they can turn this fight in to the bonanza that it has to be to get the draw. McGregor-Mayweather shouldn’t be an automatic draw. I

WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU PAY TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

Listen, I’m all about spectacle. I live for that kind of nonsense. One of my yearly routines is watching the WWE’s Royal Rumble because I think it’s so, so stupid. And I always feel like I get my money’s worth.

That being said, I don’t see how McGregor-Mayweather is a fight worth paying for. McGregor is coming off a UFC 196 loss against a weird southpaw striker in the form of Nate Diaz, a guy who basically landed jabs and 50/50 punches whenever he felt like it.

Mayweather is inarguably one of the best boxers of all time. There’s no possible way that he’d have any problems dispatching McGregor at all as long as he wanted to. And that’s the inherent problem with measuring proper entertainment value.

At a likely price of $79.99 (or whatever your bar tab is), McGregor-Mayweather stands to be one of the worst, big fights to ever be staged. Let’s keep in mind that Pacquiao-Mayweather was a bit of a stinker. I don’t really want to remind you of the disappointment following Mayweather’s fight with Oscar de la Hoya either.

Nine of Mayweather’s last 10 fights have gone the distance of twelve rounds. Among those, only Saul Alvarez got the most out of him, providing some drama in the early half of the fight. A lot of these fights have been flat out boring.

Boxing fans may be used to that, but MMA fans don’t stand for lame duck match-ups. They want blood. That’s what they pay to see. I’m not so sure that McGregor-Mayweather would provide them the bloodbath, or even the display of skill, that MMA fans are seeking.

Either McGregor gets strung out for a few rounds before Mayweather knocks him unconscious or the two just dance around aimlessly for 12 rounds laughing at each other about how much money they’re going to make. There’s no way around it. Those are the only two ways this fight goes down.

And make no mistake – we’re talking about a ton of money here.

MAKING DOLLARS AND SENSE OUT MCGREGOR-MAYWEATHER

Mayweather has a staggering net worth of over $700 million, but when there’s money to be made and a spotlight to be shone, he’s going to be right in the middle of things.

A lot of press was made about what Mayweather earned after his much anticipated bout with Manny Pacquiao, which remains one of the most uninteresting boxing matches of all time. The scale of the match seemed grand at the time. It was something we all wanted to see, and almost everyone I know had to see it as if their own life depended on it.

Turns out we all paid about a day’s wage to watch Mayweather do virtually nothing. Fight fans felt robbed, mostly because Mayweather refused to engage and Pacquiao slowed down. Despite all the uproar, Mayweather cashed out $210 million in that fight while Pacquiao took home a reported $142 million according to various outlets like ESPN and Yahoo.

Comparing that to what Conor McGregor makes in a fight is incredibly difficult given that the UFC doesn’t actually report much when it comes to their fighters’ actual earnings. For that historic UFC 196 bout, McGregor was given a $1 million pay day while Diaz earned a $500,000 salary himself. There was no win bonus, but Diaz also pocketed an extra $100,000 for Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. That’s $600,000 if your calculator (or Grade 3 math skills) aren’t available.

What those figures don’t include is the cut they get from things like viewership, sponsorship and gate sells. The total gate for UFC 196 was $8.1 million, which made it one of the most successful events in company history. What the fighters see from that is the great unknown in terms of earnings in the sport.

Dana White has been vague about what fighters make, saying that Diaz “made millions” at UFC 196 which is probably true given how large the fight actually was. So it’s unknown how much McGregor actually pocketed. It’s been rumored to be something between $5 million and $10 million.

In sport, you just can’t find a single pay day like the ones that huge boxing matches offer. The top two grossing athletes in 2015 were Mayweather and Pacquiao, who combined to take home $480 million between the two of them. The rest of the top-10 include stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant.  Those eight superstars collected a combined total of $490.2 million.

I’ve always said that baseball players have it best given the pace of their sport and the average salary in the league, but if you’re able to take a punch then boxing can offer incredible riches.

That’s why everything about a McGregor-Mayweather fight makes sense for both guys. It’s more money and more attention for one of the greatest boxers of all time, and it’s a life changing cash-out for the biggest personality the sport of MMA has ever seen.

Making $10 million is great for a fight, and that’s possible given McGregor’s immense drawing power. Making $100 million? That’s a special type of currency, and perhaps Conor McGregor’s favorite kind. That’s “Fuck You” money.

Would you take a single night of humiliation to be set up for the rest of your life? Most definitely.

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