Conor Mcgregor vs Flloyd Mayweather – it is, the biggest fight in the history of combat sports!
The fight is now upon us. What we are curious about, is the cultural point. How was this become, not just one of the biggest sporting events, but one of the biggest events of all time?
Here is a quick recap of how we got here:
How did we get here:
The media has hyped this fight to no end – and there are many experts from both MMA and Boxing who have weighed in on this fight – with the vast majority of pundits in favour of Mayweather.
Mayweather admitted, he was pulled out of retirement because of the money. He had already accomplished everything he could ever hope to accomplish in boxing. So it was only this super-fight, this biggest pay day in boxing history that has got him to lace up once again.
It is the age of social media
Many boxers and boxing fans were outraged that this fight was made. Mayweather took a lot of heat from many in the boxing community, even from boxing hall-of-famer, Oscar De La Hoya.
There is usually a ranking system in place, who gets to fight who. Conor has skipped all of this. Money talks, and wherever their is hype, wherever there is interest from fight fans, from social media, the money will be there and anything is possible.
“if they think you can’t do something, that is when you MUST do something”
Mcgregor’s rise has been meteoric. In his own words, “I have changed the game”. Mcgregor dominated the UFC not just because of his talent in the ring, but it was the way he was able to dominate the media outside the ring. He is incredibly bold, building up his fights, taking on seemingly impossible challenged: “if they think you can’t do something, that is when you MUST do something”.
The sport of fighting – whether it is in the MMA world or the Boxing world – is not just a sport, it is entertainment. It is not enough just to be a good fighter if no one cares to watch you. You have to be entertaining – and no one has done this as well as Mayweather has done. Mayweather says Mcgregor “stole his blueprint”: Love him or hate him, he gets you to watch him.
“When the promoter is making more than the fighter – something is wrong”
Mayweather said fairly on in his career: “When the promoter is making more than the fighter – something is wrong”. Both Mcgregor and Mayweather are brilliant business men. They have both made sure they are part of the business side, they both own their own promotion companies, they have both invested in their own businesses. Both men constantly use the limelight to promote their other businesses, wether its the younger fighters on their teams or their businesses outside the fight game.
“Showtime” conducted an interview with Mayweather and asked him: “is boxing’s reputation on the line?” Mayweather repiled: “Of course. I won’t let boxing fans down – I won’t let MMA fans down. We are gonna give the fans what they want.”
Pacquiao vs Mayweather was the last boxing superfight, and there was no doubt that the fight failed to live up to the hype. Since then, boxing had been on the decline. Sure there are still great start fighters, Canelo, GGG, Lomachenko, but there hasn’t been any superfights since the PacMay fight. Mayweather’s last boxing fight against Berto many thought was anti-climatic.
When there is a decline in viewers and a decline in demand, there is a decline in money and a decline in the attractiveness towards the sport. Fewer young fighters dream of being the champion of the world. Fewer young fighters are attracted to a career where the amount of discipline and sacrifice demanded isn’t matched by the rewards.
MMA World on the rise
The MMA world is on the rise. Many still do not understand the UFC and do not understand how quickly the sport has evolved. Yes, initially, it was a sport where experts in certain disciplines would fight against each other: a karate expert might fight a boxer or a wrestler. But those days are long gone. The UFC is the sport of fighting, and its fighters are well versed in many fight disciplines.
The UFC gives a career path to many athletes who started their career in different sports. Ronda Roussey started in Judo. Kimbo Slice was a street fighter. Broc Lesnar made his way over from the WWE. Even Mcgregor started as a young boxer.
The UFC, just like its fighters, has been growing and evolving. Many in the world still don’t recognize the skill level involved. To many, they see the MMA world as brutal “cage fighting”. But this is a reputation the UFC does not shy away from, it is raw, it is brutal – it is “real” fighting. Boxing on the other hand is known as the “sweet-science”. So why is, that though both sports are fighting, why is one seen as more brutal than the other?
Comparing the sports is a whole different discussion. But is important to know, is that boxing needs new blood, new stars and a fresh reputation. Whereas the UFC and MMA is definitely on the rise. In the past few years, it has been recognized by more and more sporting governing bodies, with UFC 205 being the first time the octagon was hosted in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
What’s on the line?
What happens if Mayweather wins? Mcgregor will still have taken his next step towards being a global mega-star. He is not afraid of losing, he is not afraid of seemingly impossible challenges. We saw this when he lost to Nate Diaz. The loss did not hurt his fan base, and the rematch was eagerly anticipated. Mcgregor is always on the lookout for something bigger and more captivating. That is what keeps his fan-base so engaged, win or lose.
If Mcgregor loses this fight. MMA will still have won. It would have got more of the spotlight. Mcgregor would return to the UFC and continue to grow as a superstar.
it would be a fair boast to say that the UFC holds not just the best MMA fighters, but the best fighters, period.
But if Mayweather loses, it would be the first loss of his career. It will be the loss of a boxing legend, to in their words, “a boxing amateur”. It would catapult the UFC to the forefront of all combat sports because it would be a fair boast to say that the UFC holds not just the best MMA fighters, but the best fighters, period.
What is it that viewers want?
There will always be boxing purists who will follow and support the sport no matter what. But for the casual fan and the average-joe, if Mcgregor wins, he might bring a lot of these new fans to the UFC with him.
No one thought that an MMA fighter would make his boxing debut against one of the greatest boxers of all time. Win or lose Mcgregor is already living in a world where anything is possible for him.
A Student of Fighting
Conor Mcgregor call himself a student of fighting. He even has in his camp, Ido Portal, “a master of movement”.
Many people, especially the boxing world, assume that Conor is just a “striker from the MMA” world. They do not give much respect to the fact that Conor is complete fighter, obsessed with improving all the time, obsessed with new challenges and finding a way to win.
this is some Bruce lee shit
Mcgregor quotes Bruce Lee to “showtime”: “When water goes into a cup, become the cup. Adapt to any situation, that is a true martial artist.” During the weigh-in with Mayweather, Mcgregor reminds Mayweather of this: “this is some Bruce Lee shit”.
How big a factor is that going to be, that this is one of the first fighters in many years that truly believes he can beat Mayweather. The fact that both men know that if they was a “real fight” with no rules – Mcgregor would destroy Mayweather.
No matter what happens – the sport game won’t be the same.