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Conor McGregor And Floyd Mayweather Could Come Face To Face Sooner Than We Thought

Gavan Casey
By Gavan Casey
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On the 12th of September, Floyd Mayweather bows out of boxing when he schools Andre Berto in an embarrassingly lopsided, skull-bashingly boring unanimous decision victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

He might well end up going head-to-head with Ireland's Conor McGregor first.

Before the "slow news day, lads?" alarm bells begin to sound in your head, it's worth pointing out that I'm not actually taking the piss here.

First, in true Vegas fashion, we need to lay our cards on the table: As a fight, Mayweather vs Berto just doesn't sell.

The Haitian former two-time world champ is 3-3 in his last 6 fights, and two of those defeats came versus Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz - both of whom have been comprehensively seen off by the pound-for-pound king in recent years.

So if you're Mayweather's home network, Showtime, how do you sell this fight apart from bluntly stating that it will be Mayweather's swan-song? (Which, in classic 'Money May' fashion, it absolutely will not be. Stay tuned for Mayweather vs Pacquiao II next spring).

Well, you start by broadcasting an Inside: Mayweather - Berto series in the build-up, which they likely will about two weeks prior to the fight.


But for such a poor fight to break even 500,000 pay-per-view buys, nearly a tenth of what Mayweather vs Pacquiao did at the boxing box office in May - you need to generate more interest across general sporting platforms, and in particular, social media.

You need some fireworks. A bit of 'umf.' You need personality.

Who better to call upon to mix things up than the mixed martial artist who himself has been incessantly declaring that he can dismantle boxing's most decorated active fighter, rather conveniently at a time when Mayweather is gearing up for his own fight?


And you better believe the man in question is a close friend of Andre Berto's:



A McGregor appearance in Berto's camp on Inside: Mayweather - Berto, or better still, a surprise WWE-esque 'drop in' during one of September's press conferences would draw media attention worldwide to an otherwise utterly forgettable fight and promotion.

And just imagine if there were a few shapes thrown at the weigh-in.

But there's more. Like a Pumpkin Spice Latte-wielding white girl on Instagram, let's briefly throw back to 2013.

Speaking to Heidi Androl after The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale, UFC president Dana White revealed he had touched base with Floyd Mayweather's upcoming opponent, Berto, about potentially setting foot in the octagon.

It's true- we bumped into each other one night in Los Angeles and, you know, he's a tough guy, he's a fighter and he said, ‘You know, man, I would love to try this UFC stuff.'

I said, ‘Brother, you better work on your wrestling, you know?' I don't know, it was just talk and I know he's talking about publicly right now, but who knows, we'll see what happens.

Andre Berto has since attended a number of UFC events as a guest, and maintains an amicable relationship with its president.

Like his Notorious cash cow, Dana White himself began his fight career in boxing. And his Interim featherweight champion's 'hypothetical' involvement in the Mayweather vs Berto promotion could arguably be upgraded to 'potential' status if you recall that, in promotional terms, White actually began his journey in Mayweather's corner.

On the subject of the UFC and White, Mayweather told Fight Hype last week:

I can remember, I think you can go back to the beginning, to day one of my career, my first fight. My uncle Jeff Mayweather and I, that's when Dana White used to work for us. He used to be with us.

When nobody else knew who Dana White was before, when he was a little square white guy, before he cut all his hair off and became a 'tough guy' in the MMA.

He used to run around with me. Nobody would wear his patch and I said I would do it for free. I showed him love and I'm proud of him. I'm proud of how far he has come.


It could be construed as a backhanded Mayweather barb against a former colleague, whose own fighters (McGregor and Ronda Rousey) have been rather shamelessly plugging world's highest paid athlete's name in an attempt to self-promote within a different sport.

But it certainly doesn't close the door to business. And that's what Floyd Mayweather, Dana White and Conor McGregor do best. If White and McGregor in particular see an opportunity for free publicity opposite one of the biggest names in sport, expect them to take it.

So we've already established an indirect yet rather conspicuous business-related quartet between September's boxing protagonists, McGregor and White.

And indeed, it was the business aspect of boxing that drew the ire of one Dana White back in 2007.

Amongst White's criticisms of the sport were that Bob Arum - then Mayweather's promoter, now a mutual adversary - had created a weak undercard for the Oscar De La Hoya vs Mayweather superfight by not promoting the event correctly:

[Arum] promoted that show completely the wrong way, because he worried about the money as opposed to trying to secure the future,

White said.

He should have stacked that card.

With the majority of sensible boxing fans now at a point of saturated disillusionment with the sport's kingpin - a convicted, serial woman-beater who, for all his talent, will bow out with a career-metaphorically easy matchup - it might not hinder Floyd v Berto hype were Mayweather Promotions to return the favour, and subtly outsource some of the mundane promotional duties to a rival sport's biggest talking point.

For Conor McGregor within the confines of the octagon, timing is everything. And just a month out from Mayweather vs Berto, The Notorious is already bringing the verbal heat.

Speaking with The Guardian midweek, McGregor was once more drawn to comment on Money May:

In a real fight, I would dismantle him in seconds. Ronda [Rousey] would dismantle him in seconds – 100%.

When you don't know how to grapple, you don't stand a chance. For us, it's like playing with a baby. People who don't understand the sport cannot understand how vulnerable they are. Ronda is a judo Olympian. She would throw Floyd on his head in a second. Me? I would knock him out. Cold.

And while Floyd is yet to respond to McGregor's latest media jab, real money always talks.

If you're talking about a fight that could generate half a billion – it's this one. There's never going to be another boxing fight like this one. Only a cross-style match between Mayweather and me could generate that kind of interest and revenue,

McGregor said.

For some reason, we're drawn to the prospect of seeing McGregor take on Mayweather in some sort of crossover fight, even though we know The Notorious wins decisively in the octagon, and Floyd wins handily in the ring.

It's a bit like wanting to see Johnny Sexton take a penalty on Shay Given, but with the aim of sailing the ball over the crossbar.

The fight will never happen, but having McGregor gatecrash the Mayweather - Berto party and try to instigate it, and keep the pipe-dream alive, would suddenly garner world sporting media spotlight for two of the respective combat sports' biggest stars.

It makes business sense on both ends, with McGregor's now slightly stagnated clash with Jose Aldo confirmed for the same venue as Mayweather's clash with Berto - the MGM Grand - exactly three months later.

Crucially, Mayweather - Berto lands just before McGregor hits camp for his own pound-for-pound showdown. And where will that camp take place? Why, Vegas, of course. And with Mayweather - Berto promotion about to get underway, that's where McGregor is right now.

For nine years, Sin City has been Mayweather's town. With boxing's biggest draw set to bow out of public consciousness, the face of the UFC will seek to claim squatter's rights.

Could there be a better way to storm the castle - ahead of your own career-defining fight on the same soil - than to be seen psychologically dominating the outgoing king in an eye-to-eye confrontation?

Even if Mayweather turns the other cheek, McGregor's friendship with Berto and his war of words with Floyd give him instant access to the promotion, to the point where he could even walk to the ring alongside Mayweather's opponent. That in itself could produce fireworks.

It could also open the door to McGregor vs Justin Bieber, but that's a theory for another day.

I'm not asking you to call me 'Mystic Mac,' but a potential McGregor - Mayweather showdown outside of the cage or ring might be worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.



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