Sunday 18 February 2018

McGregor v Mayweather build-up will be a 'lot of bulls***' - UFC chief White

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor faceoff on stage at the Staples Center, Los Angeles last night. Photo: Getty Images
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor faceoff on stage at the Staples Center, Los Angeles last night. Photo: Getty Images

Gareth A Davies

The four-day international press tour to promote the August 26 superfight between 'The Notorious One' Conor McGregor and Floyd 'Money' Mayweather got under way last night in Los Angeles.

The rivals will appear at the Staples Center in LA, before going to the Sony Performance Arts Centre in Toronto, Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Wembley's SSE Arena in London. Notably, the Dublin leg was vetoed by Mayweather.

President of the UFC Dana White who allowed McGregor, their biggest star, to step away from his UFC contract to compete in a boxing match with the unbeaten Mayweather (49-0), has revealed that the American boxer's team are handling the organisational side. He expects to see plenty of peripheral figures who like the sound of their own voices on stage.

Speaking after Saturday's UFC 213 event in Las Vegas, White explained: "I'm going on the whole tour. Mayweather's team is putting the thing together. I think it's going to be more like a boxing press conference.

"You know how mine are - no bulls***, we walk in and we sit down and we get it rolling. I think there's going to be a lot more bulls*** in this one. I think there's gonna be a lot of people come in and talk and... a lot of speeches."

White is expecting McGregor to be at his irascible best ahead of a contest expected to gross over $500 million. "I'm not gonna get up and do any speeches. Conor and I will answer questions when asked questions.

"Staples Center is sold out, Barclays, sold out. We had to get a bigger venue in Toronto and we're doing Wembley in England. It's crazy. It's going to be an absolute s**tshow."

Meanwhile, though McGregor may have fewer followers than Mayweather, he is winning the battle for engagement, according to social media firm Hookit.

The experts estimate that McGregor's accounts could be worth "tens of millions of dollars" to sponsors.

The Dubliner has been freed to strike deals beyond his usual UFC contract for the Mayweather fight, but doing so could damage his authentic brand.

The US company that tracks sponsorship value in social and digital media said McGregor has built a "social media powerhouse".

"McGregor certainly has the upper hand when it comes to connecting with and engaging his fans in social media," Hookit CEO Scott Tilton said.

"McGregor trends way higher with fans on social media," he added. "Based on a one-year report, Conor added 12.7 million new followers in the past 12 months versus only 3.4 million for Mayweather. McGregor's posts generated 419 million interactions, more than three times that of Mayweather."

One tweet shows the disparity in online engagement between McGregor and Mayweather. When both fighters announced their August 26 showdown in Las Vegas last month, there was only one winner. McGregor's post, which made light of Mayweather's age, prompted 96pc more replies, 156pc more retweets and 311pc more likes than Mayweather's post.

The UFC star has a combined 24.4 million followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This is 10 million fewer than Mayweather's 35.9 million followers across the same platforms. McGregor clearly punches above his weight. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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