Thursday 27 July 2017

Comment: Why Floyd Mayweather money can't guarantee Conor McGregor bout

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather

Tom Rooney

Floyd Mayweather's revelation that he offered Conor McGregor a purse five times bigger than the Dubliner has ever earned may have struck a bigger chord if the whole affair hadn't already turned into a soap opera.

That's not to say that the retired boxer's comments to ESPN on Wednesday should be dismissed as hollow bluster, because they highlighted not only the financial disparity between him and McGregor, but also the roadblocks that would have to be negotiated for the pair to get in the ring and have it out.

"We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight," Mayweather said on First Take.

"My number is a guaranteed $100m. That was my number. We are willing to give him $15m (€14.7m) and then we can talk about splitting the percentage - the back end - on the pay-per-view."

UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Forgetting the figures for a moment, Mayweather effectively offered to employ McGregor and pay him a salary.

In fact, since becoming the biggest pay-per-view draw in boxing and then establishing Mayweather Promotions in 2007, the 39-year-old set the terms and signed the cheques for the vast majority of his subsequent bouts.

Mayweather obviously expects to take the promotional reins for this hypothetical super-fight, but McGregor is under contract with the UFC and its owners, WME-IMG, will want their cut, so a mutually beneficial arrangement would have to be met.

Were it not, McGregor's hands would be tied, unless he wanted to burn all bridges with the organisation that has facilitated his rise to global fame and remarkable wealth.

Mayweather really doesn't seem to believe that the UFC or McGregor are his equals - is it likely that such a man would make huge concessions to either party just to secure a fight that he in no way needs to cement his legacy or financial status?

McGregor, too, would have to set his ego aside to get the contest over the line.

He might be MMA's big earner but, compared to Mayweather, the 28-year-old is small time.

Which is hardly a slight, given that former five-time world champion is, according to Forbes, worth $340m.

McGregor will find himself in the unfamiliar position of facing a man he cannot conceivably beat and being paid almost 10 times less for the pleasure of attempting to do so.

Location could also be an issue. Mayweather is based in Las Vegas and has not fought outside Nevada since 2005, and McGregor still has an outstanding fine with the Athletic Commission there for his bottling-throwing antics with Nate Diaz.

McGregor has a licence to box in California, but why would Mayweather move a contest that will surely conjure huge attention from the world's fight capital?

On the other hand, Mayweather is willing to come out of retirement to humble McGregor, and take his immaculate record to 50-0. You never know.

Irish Independent

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