A Haiku for the Fight of the Century - McGregor vs Mayweather

This does not make SENSE

Not Sure How the STARS aligned, 

But I'm HERE FOR IT!

A few months ago, I put a lot of though into the likelihood that this fight would happen. Ultimately, my analysis concluded that this fight absolutely should not happen but there is so much money at stake and no other similar payday on the horizon that it will get done. An ode to the God of Commerce. I am giving myself permission to be excited about this fight because of my curiosity in the stylistic match up and an honest belief that no one will get seriously hurt.

Conor McGregor is proven to be a strong, durable fighter, with a decent chin and Floyd Mayweather will be much smaller and is not a home run puncher. This should take some of the horrible smell out of the fact that the world's most respected athletic commission is putting someone with 0 professional boxing against someone that is 49-0. Especially when the announcement comes during the same week that we learned that former UFC Heavyweight Tim Hague passed away after taking a beating as 1-4 professional boxer against an opponent that was 7-1. As a person that primary trains kickboxing and jujitsu and then occasionally spars against boxers;  putting mixed martial artist in boxing matches against top flight opponents is a potentially very dangerous situation because these are completely different sports. 

There were a lot of hurdles to get this fight done and I think its worth reflection. The point of this fight is not competitiveness. The point is that this is a lunar eclipse and may never happen again so watch it while you can.  Below is an analysis I did a few months ago about the likelihood of this fight getting put together. Perhaps it is helpful in putting this contest into context and how much work it took to get here. 

This fight does not make Sense...

I am not sure how the Stars aligned,

But I'm HERE for it!

 

Blog Post from January 5, 2017 by Sherrod Seward, Esq. 

Will the Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, and if so, will it be Competitive?

 

It is rare to enjoy being trolled…. But this is an exception. Imagine the spectacle of the “Notorious” Conor McGregor vs. Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

Will Conor McGregor get a fight with Floyd Mayweather? And if so, can Conor Mcgregor actually win?
Long story, short….

Question #1 = Quite Likely
Question #2 = Barely possible

As a person that trains mixed martial arts and occasionally spars with people that know how to box, I can tell you that this does not bode well for the mixed martial artist. Boxing and mixed martial arts (“MMA”) are two VERY different sports. Due to the fact that boxers are not worried about takedowns and kicks, they develop a whole different set of skills than Mixed Martial Arts fighters. In addition, the difference in the size of the gloves makes a big difference in defensive schemes, the difference in the number of rounds changes the pace/objectives of bouts, and most obvious differences come in the footwork. There are levels to this.
However, before we begin discussing strategy, we have to discuss the possibility of a fight getting made.

Hurdle #1 Money

The first hurdle is money. This is not a problem, I suspect that this is a $350 million dollar fight, at least. The real battle is over the structure of the guaranteed purse money. Over the past two weeks, the three major parties involved, Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor, and Dana White (President of the UFC) have thrown out numbers to the media. Floyd wants a $100 million guaranteed purse. McGregor wants $100 million for the bout, but did not specify if this is an expectation of guaranteed purse. Dana White has thrown out $25 million a piece with open stance on backend pay-per-view points and offered to promote the rest of the card with quality fights.

 

All of this is possible, except for maybe Mayweather accepting only a $25 million guaranteed purse.
There is plenty of money to go around. Take a look at the business break-down of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael who stated that the fight did well over $500 million in revenue.


Fight revenue included:

• A record of approximately $40 million from international television rights from 175 countries;
• A record $13.2 million from sponsorships, including a record $5.6 million paid by Tecate as the title beer sponsor;
• Nearly $19 million in national closed circuit revenue from tickets sold at more than 5,000 bars, restaurants and commercial establishments;
• Another $6.9 million in closed circuit revenue from a record 46,000 tickets sold (at $150 apiece) at MGM Resorts International properties in Las Vegas;
• Merchandise sales approaching several million dollars.

McGregor’s most lucrative disclosed purse is only $3 million. But rest assured that he receives quite a bit of revenue on the backend of pay-per-view buys. It is hard to imagine that he is asking for a $100 million guaranteed purse. It is far more likely that he is talking total compensation. He has been known to bet on himself and willing to take chances when it comes to business. McGregor also has leverage because he is the biggest payday for Mayweather and the easiest fight. I’m sure Mayweather would have a much harder time and less of a pay day fighting Triple G (Gennady Golovkin).

Hurdle #2 UFC

The next hurdle is McGregor’s contract with the UFC. I reviewed a few UFC contracts in my day and it is clear as day that boxing matches are prohibited unless approved by the UFC. Dana White has made it clear that Mayweather would have to call him and set something up. As stated earlier, Dana White suggested a co-promotion where the UFC would provide the undercard for the match. Mayweather has found ways to work with or pay-off other promoters with rights on his opponent. In fact, he co-promoted the Pacquiao fight with his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions.

Another factor is the leverage that Conor McGregor has with the UFC. He is the champion in two different weight classes and has yet to defend either belt effectively causing mayhem in both the UFC’s featherweight and lightweight division. In addition, the UFC is under new ownership after selling for $4.2 Billion dollars (which McGregor is VERY aware of) and there are hefty incentives for increasing their EBITA over the next couple of years. The main cash cow for the UFC’s Conor McGregor, especially after Ronda Rousey was devastated by Amanda Nunes. We do not know how flexible and creative the new ownership is, and apparently neither does McGregor. In addition, McGregor has a child on the way and has mentioned a desire to take significant time off. At the end of the day, with the amount of leverage McGregor has with two belts and the cash at stake with raising UFC revenues, it behooves the new ownership to get creative and figure out a way for McGregor to do this fight.

Hurdle #3 Showtime

The next hurdle after agreeing to let him fight is Showtime… Dana White HATES Showtime and I’m certain the feeling is mutual. Showtime/CBS has the rights to produce Mayweather’s pay-per-views and will be a major player in making this fight happen. Dana White and Showtime had a huge fallout following the purchase of the StrikeForce MMA promotion; so much so that Zuffa and Dana White decided to dissolve the promotion. I still remember the last few events of Strikeforce, which were abysmal, including drawing only 2000 people to watch a heavyweight tournament at US Bank arena in Cincinnati that featured several of the top fighters currently in the UFC. At at the end of the relationship, Dana White refused to even be involved with talking to Strikeforce, allowing his business partner and former owner, Lorenzo Fertitta, to handle all direct communication. Lorenzo is gone, Dana will not talk to them, WME-IMG is in. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe it isn’t - we don’t know. We do have proof that Showtime can be flexible in a co-promotional situation, as they had to play ball with their rival HBO to make the May-Pac fight happen. This hurdle may be where this fight falls apart, but then again, commerce can cure almost anything.

 

Hurdle #4 Sanctioning

I thought that no athletic commission would allow this fight to happen due to the disparity in experience between the potential participants. Conor McGregor does not have a single professional boxing match and Mayweather is arguably the best boxer of all time. But to my surprise, one of the most respected athletic commissions in the nation, California has issued Conor McGregor a boxing license. Don’t know if that means they would let him fight Floyd Mayweather, but I think I stand corrected on sanctioning.

Hurdle #5 Sanctioning in Nevada

Floyd Mayweather fights at the MGM grand arena which is regulated by the Nevada State Commission who just fined Conor McGregor a significant amount of money for throwing water bottles during a press conference with Nate Diaz. In response, McGregor has vowed to never compete in Las Vegas again. Albeit, perhaps the door is open now that the lead proponent of the fine, Commissioner Pat Lindahl, was recently informed that the Governor of Nevada chose not to renew her term with the athletic commissions. Could this be because of the tax money Nevada stands to lose by fighters choosing not to compete in Nevada? Perhaps so. Other commissions that could possibly sanction this fight are Texas, which has a lenient commission and a HUGE stadium in Dallas and New York, which needs major combat sports events after numerous promoters cancelled shows over expensive medical insurance requirements.

NOW, THAT THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED…
…WILL THIS FIGHT BE COMPETITIVE?

NEXT TIME...

Sherrod Seward, Esq. is a Partner at Queen City Immigration Law and leads the firm's Combat Sport Immigration Practice. The combat sports immigration practice group of Queen City Immigration  Law operates the website www.combatsportsvisas.com and is an excellent resource for fighters, training partners, coaches, promoters, and business professionals. The practice group specializes in the O & P visas categories but is able to offer a full arrangement of immigration solutions for combat sports athletes and professionals all over the world. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 704-500-2075.