The42 uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 25 July, 2017
Advertisement

Get in, get rich, get out: McGregor already has his big win from Mayweather mega-fight

The McGregor circus is back, writes Paul Dollery, but it’s unlikely to conclude with a thrilling sporting showpiece.

DCUipZzVYAAw4om Mayweather v McGregor: stars collide on 26 August. Source: Showtime

EVEN THOUGH THE possibility of this fight taking place has been mooted for over a year, there was still something surreal about its confirmation when the news broke late last night.

Conor McGregor, entering a boxing ring for the first time as a professional, taking on one of the most successful, accomplished and experienced boxers ever to lace up a pair of gloves.

As Andy Lee pointed out recently on Off The Ball, it’s a bit like asking a triathlete to swim against Michael Phelps. Or like a tiger fighting a shark in the ocean, as Paulie Malignaggi told Second Captains.

For many, this whole saga was never going to amount to anything more than a publicity stunt. Now that it’s set to go ahead, however, they can at least take comfort from the fact that it will — one can only assume and hope — be a thing of the past in 10 weeks’ time.

Those at the centre of this fight insist it’s not about money. They’ll attempt to bill it as a chance to finally discover what happens when two combat sports collide — but that’s already been done.

For example, former world champion boxer James Toney made the move in the opposite direction in 2010 and lasted just over three minutes before being submitted by ex-UFC champion Randy Couture.

Mayweather will talk up McGregor’s chances. He’ll say that the mixed martial arts star is the perfect test for him in his 50th professional bout. A fresh challenge to help him to rediscover his appetite for competition. But in reality, McGregor is merely the perfect man to provide Mayweather with one last enormous pay cheque and a milestone round-number on his record. It’s low-risk, high-reward scenario for the 40-year-old.

Las Vegas has been chaotic for McGregor’s UFC bouts in the Nevada town over the past two years, but the weekend of 26 August will take things to another level entirely when the 28-year-old Dubliner’s fanatical horde arrives.

Covering a McGregor fight in the days beforehand can sometimes be a chore when the build-up enters circus-act territory. As a sports writer, it’s difficult to muster the enthusiasm to report on a guy in a mink coat threatening to launch a chair at his opponent at a press conference.

On fight night, there’s almost a sense of relief that the sport has finally arrived. And for anyone with an affinity for what mixed martial arts stands for in the sporting arena, watching McGregor compete is quite a thrill.

While his shtick has certainly played a significant role in his superstardom, ultimately his success has been underpinned by his abilities in the octagon. No fighter in the admittedly brief history of the sport has captivated and entertained audiences quite like he has.

To that end, it’s unfortunate that a potential consequence of this Mayweather fight casts some doubt over his future in the UFC. If, as UFC president Dana White has claimed, McGregor collects in the region of $100 million from his professional boxing debut, there will surely be some reluctance on his part to return to the UFC, where he earned a total of $34m — according to Forbes — in the entirety of the last 12 months.

Perhaps the UFC have been astute in their dealings with McGregor for this fight by ensuring that his total purse is dependent upon fulfilling his commitments to the organisation, to whom he remains contracted for four more fights, according to comments from Dana White earlier this year. However, respected MMA journalist Jeremy Botter has said that no such clause is present in the contract:

McGregor’s most ardent supporters are adopting the ‘If Conor can land one big punch…’ line in order to remain optimistic about their man’s chances of causing an upset at the T-Mobile Arena.

If only Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton, some of the greatest boxers of their generation, had known that getting the better of Floyd Mayweather was that simple.

The boxing ring is Mayweather’s domain, where he has dominated for years. Were he to be the one taking the risk by switching codes, the result would be similarly one-sided in McGregor’s favour.

Nevertheless, the real victory for McGregor here has now already been secured. As he tweeted in August 2014, the plan is to “get in, get rich and get out”. He has spoken previously of his desire to retire with both wealth and health in abundance. His determination to achieve that objective has surely only been strengthened by the arrival of his first child and the recent retirement of team-mate Aisling Daly due to an abnormality discovered in a brain scan.

There’s quite a payday in store for a man who collected his dole cheque on his way to his UFC debut just four years ago and, if that’s at the top of his list of priorities, kudos to him for carving out this opportunity.

The McGregor circus rolls back into Las Vegas this summer, but this time it’s unlikely to conclude with a thrilling sporting showpiece.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Dana White says that McGregor will defend his UFC belt before the end of the year

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (89)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel