clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

On Sunday, Conor McGregor finally spoke (and, alas, Floyd’s name came up)

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Maybe for Floyd Mayweather’s fans the idea of nine digits no longer plays as an all-consuming fascination (he’s got an entourage to feed, after all), but even for them this idea of TMT fighting Conor McGregor has got to seem a little indulgent. And yet still they/we persist. Like a carload of easy fools, we go bounding down this all-too-familiar highway, ignoring the basic problems of such a match-up…namely, the fact that Conor McGregor takes off his shoes to fight, and Mayweather laces them up.

The difference in foot presentation, after all, is everything in prizefighting. If McGregor wears shoes, he ceases being Conor McGregor. If Floyd takes his off, he’s no longer Floyd. By making either man do either, we’re just dumping a big pail of glitter over somebody’s delusions.

Still, this idea of the boxer Floyd versus MMA’s Mystic Mac keeps up, perhaps just to further troll the most trollable people in sports (read: fight fans).

This time, Sportscenter aired its Sunday Conversation with McGregor, who was wearing a Louis Vuitton t-shirt and was glowing gold. Kenny Mayne asked him about the rift between him and the UFC that got him dropped from UFC 200, and McGregor said it was a "publicized civil war," as if the other civil wars were private affairs. He explained his side of things, which was pretty down to earth. But it was all leading to questions of Mayweather, that Centaur From the Other Realm, who could make it rain for days over Ireland with crisp hundred dollar bills.

McGregor -- one of the day’s most fun-loving materialists -- explained that Mayweather needs him more than he needs Mayweather. That the boxer was old. He said he would let Mayweather choose the rules, that he’d be fine in a "limited" fight. He could store away his greater selection of techniques to focus on a specific one. Then he started talking about spinning plates. He spins a jiu-jitsu plate, he said, and a Muay Thai plate, and a boxing plate, and a karate plate, plus other kinds of plates. Mayne watched him spin the imaginary saucers in his mind. It was like hypnosis.

But then again, so is this whole idea. Much like when the chorus swelled up for women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to stand in against Mayweather, a theoretical fight that turned a good many rational people into doddering fools for a little bit. The more unattainable that fight seemed, the more a certain public yearned for it. Somehow this one has that feel, too. Like we’re a collective wind-up toy marching meaninglessly into the drywall, making noise and going nowhere. Lured by dollar signs that won’t even belong to us, just some historical novelty to gather over. Some vicarious windfall.

If there was anything substantial in what McGregor was saying in that course of questions, it was that his "gut had been emptied," and he was hungry again. In other words, he got exactly what he wanted by refusing to do the UFC’s media tour in the States last month, the straw that broke the camel’s back in his removal from UFC 200. He rediscovered some piece of him that had gone missing through three years of promotional globetrotting. His conviction to say enough is enough seemingly paid off.

With a long line of dudes waiting to face him, including Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and many others, that’s good news. But then there’s Floyd, hovering out there like a celestial cash grab that he can’t help but fantasize is in his reach. Like it or not, Conor’s eyes get big thinking about it.

"At 27 years of age, Floyd Mayweather was on Oscar de la Hoya’s undercard," he said. "Compare that. Who doesn’t want to conquer both worlds? He’s getting old now. I have the size, I have the reach, I have the height. I have the youth. He needs me, I don’t need him. That’s the truth of it. Who else he can fight? He fights someone else in the boxing realm, all of a sudden the pay goes from $100 million to $15 million. He needs me. If he wants to talk, we can talk, but it’s me who is in control here."

This thing will live on until it doesn’t anymore. How’s that for riveting?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting