For the last six months, rumors of an inter-sport fight between undefeated boxing great Floyd Mayweather and two division UFC champ Conor McGregor have been swirling … but always with the disclaimer that it would probably never happen. We were skeptical at first, too. But then we kept hearing the same thing from sources close to both camps that the talk was serious, and now we’ve got both Floyd Mayweather and UFC president Dana White throwing around fight offers on TV.
Floyd went first on ESPN, offering McGregor a $15 million guarantee versus his $100 million guarantee and some sort of PPV buy split. Now White has responded on the Colin Cowherd show, suggesting $25 million flat for each fighter plus PPV.
“I’ll tell you what, Floyd, here’s a real offer,” White said. “And I’m the guy. I’m the guy that can actually make the offer, and I’m actually making a real offer. We’ll pay you $25 million, we’ll pay Conor $25 million, and then we’ll talk about pay-per-view at a certain number. There’s a real offer, okay?”
White also refuted the idea that Mayweather had made his own ‘real offer’ to McGregor, noting that if a fight is to be made it will have to go through the UFC.
“First of all, let’s cut out the BS, he hasn’t talked to anybody about this fight,” White said. “If you’re talking to somebody about this fight, you’re talking to me. I’m the promoter. Conor McGregor’s under contract with me. And to say Conor McGregor hasn’t made $8 million or $10 million in a fight? Wrong again. And to think that you’re the A side? How are you the A side? The last major fight that you were in, you left such a bad taste in everyone’s mouth that no one wants to see it again. His last fight did 350,000 PPV buys. Conor’s last fights, Conor did 1.3 and 1.5 million PPV buys. So I don’t understand how you think you’re the A side.”
It’s interesting that White is suddenly making an offer on a fight he refused to take seriously mere weeks ago. Perhaps he’s worried McGregor and Mayweather are going behind his back to make the fight themselves and wants to force himself back into the equation. Last month McGregor went ahead and applied for boxing licenses in states across the US in a move some suggested could be to earn himself the protections afforded to boxers under the Muhammad Ali act. That would potentially allow him to break free from his UFC contract if the promotion tried to stop him from fighting Floyd.
Or maybe this all just boils down to money, which the UFC of course is always interested in making more of. White was clear that if the fight did go down it could be one of the biggest matches in combat sports history.
“I would be disappointed if a Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather match didn’t do over 2 million,” he said. “You know, 2.3 to 2.5 million. But then the upside could be who knows? Maybe you could do what Manny Pacquiao did (4.6 million PPV buys).”
This is just the latest rumbling that a boxing match between Mayweather and McGregor could go down, and it’s not the only one. Veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani also noted the recent change in attitude amongst all his sources about the fight:
So who knows … we could see this fight come together sooner than we expect. Let’s just hope it’s not a year of teasing followed by the whole thing being declared dead.