Many scoffed at the idea that the upcoming boxing match between the 49-0 Floyd Mayweather and UFC Star Conor McGregor was the “Biggest Fight Ever”. While that title may rely on what metric or variable you’re using (Biggest Pay-Per-View? Biggest objective match between two greats in their prime, a la the Rumble in the Jungle?), the people behind the McGregor/Mayweather bout are doing an AMAZING job promoting the August, 26th fight. The people promoting the fight are a mix of Mayweather Promotions, Showtime (The TV station mostly known for soft core B-movies) and Dana White (President of the UFC). They’ve done an amazing job of keeping this fight in the front of people’s minds week after week and, especially this week, day after day.
Mayweather and Conor McGregor are both known for their mouths. Not in regard to taking a punch in the mouth, but what comes out of their mouths when they’re angry (or feigning anger) during a weigh in or a press conference. What’s different about this fight is that the entire operation behind it has been going on what’s been called a “Four City Hype Tour” starting in Los Angeles and ending in London by way of Toronto and NYC. So far, in the four cities, Mayweather and McGregor have attempted to one up one another with an amazing amount of face-to-face insults and what eventually ended up being some sort of prop battle in both Los Angeles (at the Staples Center) and Toronto (At the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts). This isn’t boxing, this isn’t “combat sports”, this is WWE.
For example, during their first appearance at the Staples Center, they puffed their chests out and essentially attempted to re-do the finale to 8 Mile, without the music, rhythm or consequences. Don’t get us wrong, the insults were hilarious, but since when are two athletes allowed to completely destroy one another verbally, unfettered, in front of a ravenous crowd? It’s insanely entertaining but at the same time, it’s just insane. McGregor seemed to get the best of the over 40-year-old Mayweather, first addressing his sweat suit and tax issues (ouch!). Mayweather argues like he fights: he starts out slow and waits for an opportunity to strike, and… he did.
“He look good for a seven-figure fighter; he look good for an eight-figure fighter, but I’m a nine-figure fighter,” said Mayweather.
That’s true. Whatever McGregor says, he can’t argue with the fact that Mayweather is A) Undefeated and B) The biggest Pay-Per-View draw Ever. McGregor, seemingly blindsided by the remark, was momentarily speechless for the first time in his life and sat while Mayweather continued:
“I am guaranteeing you this. You are going out on your face or on your back,” Mayweather said. “So which way do you want to go?”
Beyond that, there was a lot of jarring and microphones cutting out; something that continued when the craziness ended up in Toronto. I highly suggest you watch the video of what happened as you won’t believe anything that’s written after this sentence. Toronto. was. crazy. While they did clash again before Toronto (In Okamato?), Toronto took the cake and created more viral sensations than a fresh case of herpes. Mayweather Promotions made the mistake of letting McGregor go on the stage first, which meant he was allowed as much time on the microphone as he wanted. He consistently taunted Mayweather about the microphone, saying (with expletives) that Mayweather wouldn’t take it from him. McGregor had one major advantage in Toronto as well: the crowd.
The crowd absolutely LOVED McGregor and everything he said and did made the crowd go crazy. At one point, after realizing the crowd was pro-Ireland as an independent nation, McGregor implored the crowd to scream: “At the count of three, I want everyone in this arena to scream f— the Mayweathers!” They did. Mayweather had no chance to get them on his side as he came out and bored the crowd with his long-winded apology/butt kissing of UFC President Dana White. Things slowed down a bit, despite the fact that McGregor still had a mic and was shouting out hilarious one-liners during Mayweather’s “speech”. Then… The props came out.
Mayweather had his friend bring a backpack to the podium and open it. McGregor, with a mind apparently as quick as his left hand, landed two hilarious insults during that period. First, he said that Mayweather shouldn’t have a school bag on the stage at the age of 40, as he “couldn’t read”. Then, when Mayweather asked his friend/hanger-on to bring the backpack up to the podium McGregor mocked the man for doing what he was told. Inside the backpack was a few stacks of dollar bills. It seemed that Mayweather didn’t expect anyone to actually open or look in the bag, so when he grabbed the two stacks out, he was clearly implying that the bag was full of multiple other stacks. We later found out that, of course, it wasn’t. McGregor eventually got his hands on the backpack after seeing Mayweather grab an Irish Flag from the crowd and drape himself in it, McGregor style. That really bothered McGregor who opened up the backpack and laughed when he saw how empty it was. Chants of “pay your taxes!” drowned out anything Mayweather had planned to do or say and it ended up being one of the most perfectly designed disasters in “combat sports” history.
While some may find this entire tour distasteful, it definitely is accomplishing its goal. The fight is still almost a month and a half away and ticket and Pay-Per-View prices were just released this week. They’re insanely expensive. In an attempt to show us fans that it’s worth every penny, they’re essentially forcing the two fighters to go on stage and roast one another. It does harken back to some of the things the greatest boxer of all time, Mohammad Ali, did when he was attempting to get into the heads of his opponents. What we are seeing now is really no different. It’s just as commercialized and planned as everything else in 2017 (except this article… For now). Regardless of whether or not you like it, it’s hard not to laugh when you hear McGregor throwing insult after insult. Mayweather’s main defense was that he was undefeated and that he makes a lot of money. He even went on to ask McGregor what his middle name was (Spoiler Alert: It’s “Money”), to which McGregor (Not missing a beat) replied; “You owe money.”
After August 26th, regardless of who wins or loses, considering the hype surrounding this mega-fight, it’s doubtful that anyone involved will owe money, ever. Unless they’re Johnny Depp.