This story just won't die.
In recent weeks the rumors of a Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing match have been running rampant. The talk surround the hypothetical match-up has been covered by every sports media outlet including exhaustively by this website. As time has gone on the facts surrounding the would be bout suggest it isn't a realistic option and the talk is purely kept up by the two fighters for promotional purposes. But every time the story seems to be losing steam, a new angle from the media breathes life back into it. Well here we go again.
Yesterday on his podcast "The Herd," Fox Sports host Colin Cowherd said that the fight is going to be made and the news will be broken in a couple of weeks. Cowherd claimed knowledge from multiple sources scheduling the bout for mid-September in Las Vegas, Nev..
"News I believe is gonna break here in about 2 weeks...I have already booked two rooms, September 17th and 18th in Las Vegas. My intel is Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather is going to happen. It changed late last week. I got a call then somebody else sent me something [Sunday] and Saturday. We've booked rooms in Vegas. [It's happening] this September."
As it stands this is the most interesting new bit of information on the bout so far (which, granted, isn't saying much). Though not exactly a breaking news reporter, Cowherd has worked in sports media long enough to have made substantial connections and he also works for Fox who is deeply integrated with the UFC. Claiming multiple sources have given him substantive information on the topic is absolutely plausible and at the minimum seems more reliable than the vague posturing done by McGregor and Mayweather themselves. This is also the first time a concrete date has been suggested for the bout which, coupled with the multiple sources, lends an air of credibility to Cowherd's statements.
Cowherd goes on to hint at what precipitated the "change" late last week which, according to him, has made this fight a reality.
"Mayweather did have a very bad last pay per view gate - 550,000 people, he tries to get 2 to 3 million. So I think this is the most profitable fight for CBS and Mayweather. CBS has been working with Mayweather for years. That's why his fights are on Showtime, because CBS owns Showtime.
"So Les Moonves [President and CEO of CBS] and the CBS peeps have decided, 'let's talk to the Fox - UFC peeps' and you've got Fox and CBS, you've got UFC, you've got boxing, you've got Floyd, you've got Conor. It's gonna make a lot of money for people."
On one hand, Cowherd's statements make sense. The amount of promotional push that could be generated by a combination of CBS, Fox, Showtime, the UFC, Mayweather, and McGregor would be unparalleled. With that type of promotional force behind it, it's not unreasonable to think the fight would surpass the record number of pay per view buys generated by Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
On the other hand, that is a large number of disparate parties to get to agree on the various particulars that go hand in hand with fight promotion. To believe that all the various parties involved have come to an agreement in such a short period of time strains credulity. After all, it took Mayweather and Pacquiao over five years to come to terms and they were both in the same sport.
The different sport aspect of the event may be a boon here though. Cowherd notes that McGregor losing (the most likely outcome) would by no means ruin his marketability as an MMA fighter. He was submitted by Nate Diaz in an MMA fight and doesn't appear to have lost any promotional gravitas. A loss to Mayweather in boxing won't hurt him because this boxing match, should it happen, will be much more about the spectacle than the outcome.
"I don't think it's going to be a good fight but it's an event. Nik Wallenda, in Chicago, did a tightrope walk between condos and a parking garage. I watched. I don't care about balance I don't care about - that part of Chicago doesn't interest me. It's not Lake Shore Drive, it's not one of my favorite lounges. I watched a guy walk across a tightrope on a windy night in Chicago. And I'm like, ‘this is fascinating.' ...
This is being sold simply as an interesting one-off event."
MMA has a long history of interesting, non-competitive spectacles (Pride never die). If Cowherd is right, it seems we'll be adding another to the list in a few months.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
LOL. Roy Nelson wants a title shot if he beats Derrick Lewis in his next fight.
Mainstream exposure. Conor McGregor will appear in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue."
Hollywood PVZ. Paige VanZant will appear in the film "Kickboxer: Retaliation."
Still got it. Chael Sonnen kind of wants to fight George St. Pierre.
MotIVated BJ.* B.J. Penn removed from UFC 199 for a possible USADA IV use violation.
*Shout out to @sooziecuzie for that one.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Conflicting interests. Scott Harris of Bleacher Report examines the issues with MMA promoters also serving as fighter managers.
First Take talking MayGregor fight. MMA talks stops at about the 4 minute mark.
Re-watch the win that got Bisping a title shot and notice how weird it is that Anderson kept trying to hit that upward elbow he KO'd Fryklund with instead of just punching Bisping.
A free fight doubleheader. On the re-watch, who do y'all think won?
So relevant to today too.
Bantamweight champ talking about his injury, how he came back from it, and Faber.
RJJ giving CM some advice on possible rematch with Nate.
Rumors of Lee Murray returning get discussed.
Either way he's got a good chance to win.
@Bisping don't worry about wrestling. I'm not coming for takedowns, I'm coming to take your head off.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 23, 2016
This is why he got the shot. Maximizing the small window for promotion.
I put my pants on same as you, one leg at a time, but then then I take on world champions and take gold belts.#morecowbell #ufc199— michael (@bisping) May 23, 2016
DJ and I didn't play the same NES games growing up.
ass cheeks got me looking like fester from uncle fester quest nes game pic.twitter.com/5qpQ9d1sxA— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) May 23, 2016
Sage is really diversifying his training.
Just got through training with the Champ Mike Chandler @mikechandlermma pic.twitter.com/VWQojYqYk3— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 23, 2016
Caught this out by the pool! pic.twitter.com/jRUiJw6d6T— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 23, 2016
Lots of support for Paige from her peers.
Be sure to vote for @PaigeVanZantUFC tonight! Every vote counts! 800-868-3410! https://t.co/uXa4wKbxe7#DWTSFinale— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) May 24, 2016
Does this make Weidman Young Nastyman?
If this is your thing.
CM Punk vs Gall and then Mayweather-McGregor. 2016 is bananas.
Felipe Arantes (17-7-1, 2 NC) vs. Jerrod Sanders (15-2-0); UFC Fight Night 90, July 7.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2003: In a battle of WMMA pioneers, Jennifer Howe stopped Tara LaRosa with punches in the first round at HOOKnSHOOT: Absolute Fighting Championships 3. The event also featured the MMA debut of current UFC light/welterweight Jorge Masvidal who knocked out Brandon Bledsoe in the first round.
2008: B.J. Penn cemented his position as the best lightweight in the world, knocking out Sean Sherk with a flying knee and follow up punches to defend his UFC lightweight championship at UFC 84: Ill Will.
2014: T.J. Dillashaw became the UFC bantamweight champion by knocking out Renan Barao with a head kick and punches in the fifth round of the main event of UFC 173. In the co-main event of the evening Daniel Cormier absolutely mauled Dan Henderson, securing himself a shot at Jon Jones's light heavyweight title.
1979: Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir
1978: Former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.