A bout between the 49-0 former four-division world boxing champion and two-division UFC champion is believed to have been in the works for some time, with the two fighters frequently mooting the potential clash in the media and exchanging blows via social media over the past 12 months. Despite initially appearing to be little more than a tabloid pipe dream, the story grew increasing traction as 2016 went on.
Indeed, the proposed fight has looked a near-certainty since McGregor was granted a boxing license in the state of California back in December 2016 – and subsequently Nevada in February. When (or if) it does eventually materialize, the bout is largely expected to smash the boxing pay-per-view records set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao back in May 2015, which drew 4.6 million buys to generate a staggering $400 million. For his part, McGregor is credited with bringing in six million PPV buys in a 12-month period for the UFC.
The hype train resumed full service earlier this week when McGregor took to social media to tease that his next fight was to be announced “very soon,” prompting speculation that he’d finally penned a deal to fight the 40-year-old Pretty Boy. However, one of the men holding a lot of the cards, UFC president Dana White, subsequently told reporters that the bout agreement “is not even close to being done”, despite some progress being made between the interested parties.
Despite bookmakers already offering odds on the potential clash, with Mayweather being the overwhelming -1000 favorite in the boxing betting to triumph, there is still a lot of red tape to get through before the contest becomes a reality. In addition to agreeing on the takings split between the two combatants, McGregor has still to finalize a deal with his UFC bosses on his pay for the fight; Jeff Mayweather claims the MMA promotion will be looking to take at least 80 percent of the Irishman’s purse.
Of course, despite the huge amount of mainstream interest in two of sports’ leading trash-talk kings doing battle, not everyone is enthused by the idea of the superfight potentially taking place. Boxing and MMA pundits alike have claimed the contest is a sad indictment of both sports’ inability to create new stars beyond their single leading man, with some going so far as to suggest the contest would be a “grotesque mismatch”.
Certainly, in the straight boxing match the tilt appears to be being built as, little would give McGregor – who boxed as a youth but has never fought professionally – more than a puncher’s chance against one of the sport’s all-time greatest fighters. That being said, accomplished MMA fighters such as Holly Holm have proved that successfully crossing over between the two sports in a possibility – but surely Mayweather’s technical boxing excellence would prove far too much for the unquestionable raw power of McGregor.