Conor McGregor confirmed it. Floyd Mayweather confirmed it. Dana White confirmed it. What many believed would never going to happen is going to happen on August 26 in Las Vegas. McGregor, the Irish superstar and one of the most charismatic figures in the history of MMA, is going to step into a boxing ring fighting Mayweather, one if not the best defensive boxer ever.
For Mayweather, it may be one last big payday and the chance to gain a 50-0 record before he finally rides into the sunset with more money in his pockets than most human beings could spend within their lifetime. For McGregor, it is also about money and about maintaining the hype. The 28-year-old is undoubtedly the biggest star in MMA, but he has earned peanuts compared to a boxing attraction like Mayweather. The Irish can have a payday that will enable him to never have to fight again. Plus, deep down inside, he is so confident that he actually believes he has a shot at connecting with his left, which has been so devastating in the Octagon, and put Mayweather to sleep.
While the intentions of both competitors are clear and understandable, what is the mindset of the other parties involved? First, why is the UFC allowing its top draw to be embarrassed and throwing away years of work in which the promotion, and MMA in general, fought for the pole position in combat sports? The UFC will receive a portion of the revenue, but long-term damage to its reputation could be done. Hardcore combat sports fans will comprehend the outcome of the fight correctly, but for casuals a one-sided fight with McGregor losing in bad fashion could cement the thought that MMA is the inferior discipline. Plus, it remains questionable if McGregor returns to the UFC and fights for a purse of 10 million or so, after he received a several times bigger payday against Mayweather.
Second, why are the other promotional players interested in the bout? This one is obvious. Boxing itself could demonstrate its superiority—at least in the eye of the uneducated observer. And Showtime landed a deal which allows the company to broadcast a historic event. Even without any promotional effort, the fight will draw an incredible buy rate.
Which brings us to another party. Why are you, the fan, going to pay to watch this fight? Do you really believe in McGregor’s chances? Are you hoping for the upset? Or are you just interested in witnessing something historical? There are countless reasons why this fight is just a freak show and not necessarily a reason to spend money. But, in the end, we all will watch, support the event financially and become part of the freak show. Sometimes, it is allowed to think unreasonably—just like when you have trained years and years in one sport and then decide to go to another sport and challenge its best competitor.