Now that we have an officially official announcement that Conor McGregor is indeed fighting Floyd Mayweather, the promotion has kicked off in earnest. Dana White stopped by ESPN and agreed with Stephen A. Smith that this fight is great for combat sports as a whole, pushing back against those who think this is a blight on boxing, and Conor McGregor has already made a dig at Floyd Mayweather, much to the internet’s delight.
Now the first conference call between the people who set up the fight — Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, UFC President Dana White and Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza clarified what’s going on here.
Dana White doesn’t believe Conor losing, even definitevely, will hurt the UFC brand. Or even Conor McGregor. He Believes it elevates McGregor.
Showtime’s VP says that this is bigger globally than May/Pac and will interest casual fans far more than that fight.
White goes on to explain that Mayweather/Pacquiao made mistakes in getting tickets out and not serving the fans well. They’ve learned from those mistakes.
Showtime is the exclusive distributor for Mayweather fights, but White says the UFC will do UFC: Embedded around McGregor and more.
Floyd didn’t flinch at drug testing, which Dana appreciates. “USADA. So much respect for Floyd Mayweather cuz let me tell you, in the negotiations when we were talking about it, I said Conor is right now in the USADA program and is being drug tested right now. As soon as the deal is done we want – and they said absolutely, didn’t even flinch about drug testing, so much respect to Floyd on that.”
Dana says Conor wants to fight again this year, so he doesn’t expect this massive payday to stop him from fighting again.
Regarding Conor accidentally throwing elbows or kicks, Dana isn’t expecting it to happen: “That will not happen. First of all, that is absolutely in the contract, number one. And number two, this is a boxing match under the NSAC rules of boxing, and when you talk about a guy of Floyd Mayweather’s level and value in the sport and things like that … the lawsuit, if that ever happened … Conor likes money man, and Conor would have to part with a lot of money if that happened.”
There is a confidentiality agreement about the payout, but “everyone is happy.”
The undercard is all boxing, but there are some “interesting things they want to do” for the prelims. Showtime wants to make this an “entertaining day and evening.”
“The undercard in terms of the televised undercard on the PPV will absolutely be a straight boxing card, but it’s a big card. There might be some interesting things we could do with the prelims. That’s something we’re going to come together on and hope to make it an entertaining day, not just three or four fights, but an entire entertaining afternoon and evening of legitimate fights all around.”
There will be no UFC on August 26th.
Shockingly, all three executives say that this is “one of the smoothest deals they’ve ever done.”
On who’s announcing, Showtime’s Espinoza said: We’re controlling production but this is very much a collaboration, obviously Mauro is our go to guy and has a history in both boxing and MMA. But we’re going to sit down with Dana and his colleagues and Leonard and put together the team that makes the most sense for the event.
I dunno we haven’t really gotten into it yet. Like Stephen said, we’re going to talk about it and figure it out. I don’t have a problem. At the end of the day, Showtime put up a lot of money to get Floyd Mayweather over there and promote his fights, and whatever they want to do, they’ve been very, very, very fair in this negotiation and letting us do things that they absolutely did not have to let us do. So I’m cool with anything.
What’s interesting is that Mauro just signed to Bellator.
Now that the deal is done, they’re working on when the first press conference will be. Hopefully, he’ll know in the next 6-7 days. He doesn’t expect any promotion at the UFC’s International Fight Week which will be in the first week of July.
Why doesn’t Dana let more UFC fighters box?
The difference is this. Floyd Mayweather is arguably the greatest of all time in boxing. Conor McGregor is a massive star in our sport. The right fight at the right place at the right time, I thought it would be impossible to deal with Mayweather Promotions, to deal with Haymon, to deal with Showtime, I thought it would all be an impossible deal to do. It was the right fight at the right place at the right time and we got it done. So … I don’t want to be doing this every weekend.
To close out the call, one final question is asked: If Conor wins, does the contract stipulate a rematch? The answer is no.
Wait, there’s more! Here’s Dana White and Mayweather Promotions’ Ellerbe: