McGregor and the UFC’s Mayweather Jr. smokescreen

Friday, May 19, 2017

Earlier this week many of you probably read Conor McGregor’s statement about having signed with the UFC to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hopefully, you weren’t fooled by the cute stunt.

I’m not saying that the two-division world MMA champ and the retired boxer won’t ever fight in the boxing ring, but McGregor and the UFC’s statements lauding their coming to terms about fighting Mayweather Jr. gives us absolutely no indication of that contest being any closer to a reality than it was before. Simply put, it just isn’t a big deal.

Conor McGregor announcing he’s come to terms with the UFC to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. is only a bit more significant than if I announced I’d signed with the Denver Broncos to play Serena Williams in a tennis match.

That is to say, whatever terms McGregor and the UFC have come to between one another about boxing Mayweather Jr. simply do not matter, in and of themselves. Conor McGregor isn’t a boxer, and the UFC is not a boxing promoter, so I’m guessing the most challenging portions of working out a boxing match with the best boxer in the world, who happens to promote himself, are yet to come.

What the UFC and McGregor probably worked out is just their differences about McGregor saying that he didn’t need them to box (As an independent contractor signed to an MMA contract, and now a licensed pro boxer who is covered by the federal Ali Act he does not, but it would probably take McGregor years of legal battles and millions of dollars to try and make that case as he fought injunction attempts and lawsuits from the UFC) while the MMA promotion insisted that their rights to his competition extended beyond MMA. McGregor promised he wouldn’t fight for the UFC without getting an equity share in the company, like so many WME-IMG clients now have, and that he was willing to go it alone to fight Mayweather and not give the UFC any percentage of that action.

Sadly, it now seems as though McGregor was just huffing and puffing about all that and he’s fine with letting the UFC own him without any real security of real employment, health insurance, a pension or equity in the company that he generates more revenue for than most of the entire promotion’s roster, combined. In an added bit of delusion, McGregor referred to himself and the UFC as “partners” in his statement.

Saying it does not make is so, however. Unless McGregor contractually has a percentage ownership in the UFC, now, he is not the partner he desires and deserves to be. It’s the contractual equivalent to all the fake stunting McGregor has done with loaner fur coats (price tags still attached) and rental sedans.

As the biggest pay-per-view star in the world right now, including Mayweather Jr., whose numbers have faltered significantly recently, McGregor deserves to at least split a would be boxing pot with Mayweather, 50/50. One has to wonder just how much of that hypothetical pie McGregor just gave up to not have to fight with the UFC, and how little he’d actually be left with if and when he actually came to terms with the other party that actually matters – Mayweather Jr.

In any case, the fight is still very much hypothetical.

All that appears to have happened is that the UFC once again got one of its fighters to capitulate to their terms. That’s not really news.

The bridge between MMA and boxing in co-promotion is still likely not anywhere near being crossed.

About the author:
Elias Cepeda is a host of Sports Illustrated’s Extra Rounds Podcast, a staff writer at FloCombat, and has a weekly column for The UG Blog.

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