Conor McGregor has made it very clear that he wants his next fight to be against Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring. And why wouldn’t he? Not only could a crossover fight between Conor and Floyd generate hundreds of millions of dollars, Floyd doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being the kind of boxer that could violently hurt you in a fight. But if Floyd isn’t willing to settle on terms, McGregor has a backup plan.
“Maybe f**k Floyd,” he said at the end of his ‘An Experience With Conor McGregor event in Manchester last weekend. “Maybe I’ll fight Manny Pacquiao!”
A legitimate idea or just a pressure tactic to show Mayweather he’s got options? Whatever the case, Manny Pacquiao has said he’s willing to fight McGregor … so long as it’s a boxing match and not mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, UFC president Dana White is even more against Conor fighting Manny than Conor fighting Floyd.
“Listen, I love Manny Pacquiao,” White said recently. “But I don’t love [Manny’s promoter] Bob Arum. You can tell Arum to save his money and not make any calls over here because we aren’t doing business with him.”
White and Arum have feuded for years and years, with Arum regularly taking shots at the UFC and mixed martial arts as a whole. He once famously referred to the sport as ‘guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground’ and ‘a bunch of skinhead white guys watching people in the ring who also look like skinhead white guys.’ So with that bridge thoroughly burnt, Arum is doing what he can to keep a potential fight alive.
“I don’t have to be involved,” Arum told TMZ Sports. “I ain’t getting in the ring. But that’s an easy fight for Manny, and I would love for that fight to happen. The ball is in their court. If the only impediment to Manny Pacquiao fighting Conor McGregor is because Dana doesn’t like me, then I won’t be around. I would give Manny the right and the permission to fight Conor McGregor any time the money is right for Manny.”
We have a feeling that doesn’t make Dana White any more okay with McGregor stepping into the ring with Pacquiao. We doubt Conor could beat Floyd, but a fight with Manny could be a bloodbath that would probably end with the brash Irishman face down on the canvas. As it stands, White seems sick and tired of all the boxing talk. But that’s not deterring McGregor, who insists a historic boxing superfight is the only thing he’s interested in. When asked if he could do it without the UFC, he replied in the affirmative.
“I believe so, with the Ali act I believe I can,” McGregor said, referring to a federal US boxing law. “But I think it’s smoother with all involved. I think we’re all about good business. I’ve done great business with the UFC, with Dana and everyone. But again, everyone’s gotta know their place. So we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
That bridge could be fast approaching, for better or worse. And we may not see Conor McGregor compete again until we’re over it, or it becomes another bridge torched to cinders.