The Conor McGregor saga marches on.
As has been exhaustively covered, the UFC featherweight champion is engaged in a dispute with Zuffa over promotional duties. He was pulled from his main event spot at UFC 200 and since then has been active on social media commenting on the situation and attempting to take the UFC to task for not allowing him to fight at the event. Then this weekend, things took another turn when rumors began to circulate about McGregor fighting retired boxer Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match. McGregor himself added fuel to the fire by tweeting a photo of a fight poster with the two stars facing off.
Mayweather retired last September after his lackluster defeat of Andre Berto for what he insisted was to be his final goodbye from the sport. However, most in the boxing world held little faith in Mayweather staying gone for good and speculation was stirred up again when Mayweather's company filed for trademarks involving the No. 50. Mayweather's current career record is 49-0 so filing for trademarks on "50" would suggest he intends to un-retire in an attempt to pass Rocky Marciano's legendary career mark of 49-0.
Speculation around Mayweather's return centered predominantly around a rematch of the highest grossing PPV of all time, his 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao. However, in the past week Mayweather's father made comments about the possibility of his son facing McGregor as has Mayweather himself. With talk of a Mayweather-McGregor fight taking over headlines, Joe Rogan took some time on his podcast to comment about the possibility of the match-up.
"I don't think [McGregor can fight Mayweather]. I would imagine, unless the UFC is involved, [or they let him out of his contract] and I can't imagine they would be willing to do that and I can't imagine that they would let him fight Floyd Mayweather."
UFC contracts are notorious (pun absolutely intended) for being difficult to get out of. Randy Couture famously went to war with the UFC to chase down a fight with then heavyweight world beater Fedor Emelianenko but he was eventually forced to give up his quest because his contract proved ironclad. Historically, the UFC has also been firmly against co-promotion, a point which has been one of the driving factors in Emelianenko himself never fighting in the octagon. Rogan, however, admits that there is a way in which McGregor may be able to make the fight happen.
"If enough money gets thrown the UFC's direction, the UFC might look at it this way, here's a pragmatic way to look at it: 'We can still make a lot of money with Conor McGregor. We can still make a lot of money with Conor McGregor in an MMA fight. We can still make a lot of money if Conor rematches Nate Diaz' which I hear they're trying to make happen as well, that's what the rumor's been. But is he gonna beat the best guys in the world now? After Nate Diaz boxed him up and choked him out, is that going to happen again? If that does happen again, how much will that deflate his value on the open market? If you're playing a game of chess, not looking at it in terms of a guy's career as an MMA fighter but looking at it as a game of financial chess, how do you move your piece?
"You might say, look the amount of money that you can make with the Mayweather fight is off the charts. Off the charts. You're talking about a three million PPV buy or something crazy. So you do that, you move that up, you take that chance, and he gets boxed up by Mayweather and maybe he survives. If he survives and loses a fucking decision and he goes back and he says ‘All respect to Mayweather. Back to MMA. I just didn't understand his hands. It's a learning experience.' and he has this great press conference. If he can survive, he's not diminished too much. And Mayweather's not a murderous puncher. He's not a Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin is a bad fight for him. Someone like that is a bad fight for him, a murderous puncher, because most likely they're gonna take him out. But Mayweather, it's very possible he is gonna get to the decision."
Setting aside the fact that such a fight would require a boxing commission to sign off on a match between one of the greatest boxers of all time and a man without any professional boxing experience, this scenario is both relatively plausible and fairly logical. Mayweather has never been a knockout artist, scoring only 26 in his 49 fights the last or which came in 2011 against Victor Ortiz in what many called a cheap shot. Mayweather's success has always come from his other worldly defense and McGregor would carry a significant size advantage into the bout which would mitigate some of the potential for getting knocked out. Moreover, as with most things in sports and combat sports in particular, money has a way of making things work and as Rogan says the fight would make an "insane" amount of money. It would be a first for the UFC but if any star could ever make something like this happen, it would be McGregor.
As for how the fight would play out, Rogan is pretty clear.
"If Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight in MMA, Conor McGregor will f*ck him up. He will f*ck him up...But, in a boxing match, I can't imagine a world where Floyd Mayweather doesn't f*ck [McGregor] up. In a boxing match I think Floyd Mayweather is arguably the greatest boxer of all time...He's just so much better. And if people don't know, if you think you're really good and then you get in there and box a guy like that, he will f*cking expose the sh*t out of you.
"But I mean, who knows man? One of the things we know about Conor is he has a ridiculous belief in himself and he has unbelievable power. One of the things we know about Floyd is he's 39. So when a guy turns 39, you never know. For every guy like Bernard Hopkins, there's a bunch of guys where the wheels just fall off and all of a sudden they can't take a punch anymore and they can't fight anymore, they don't move good anymore. But I can't imagine a world where he's not light years past Conor with boxing skill. "
You can listen to the full conversation below. The Mayweather-McGregor conversation starts around 2:02:22.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Rotterdam. Alistair Overeem stops Andrei Arlovski and the rest of the UFC Fight Night: Rotterdam results.
Invicta 17. Tonya Evinger defends her Invicta belt, pukes in a bucket, then kisses interview Laura Sanko and the rest of the Invicta 17 results.
Karo. Tyron Woodley says his title bout with Robbie Lawler isn't official yet.
FotY? Angela Lee and Mei Yamaguchi had a Fight of the Year contender at One Championship 42.
Hit-and-run. Police arrest Dennis Wright in connection to the death of MMA fighter Jordan Parsons.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Untapped potential. Dave Meltzer discusses the potential UFC 200 could have had with Conor McGregor on the card.
In case yesterday's violence wasn't enough for you, here is Jacare eating Okami's lunch.
If you enjoy watching people eat food they aren't used to.
The video of PBF's father talking McG. PBF isn't trying to fight Bud Crawford. Looking for that easy payday.
Anything to not have to fight Frankie.
MMA Vs Boxing. pic.twitter.com/qgl8tKvT5s— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 8, 2016
Overeem may have started to show his age some but he still hi a jumping front kick to same side left hook combination which isn't something any ol' heavyweight can do.
OMG!!!!— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) May 8, 2016
ALISTAIR OVEREEM KO'S ARLOVSKI!!! #UFCRotterdam https://t.co/5f1kWS1ZhD
I love this GIF.
That moment you remember it's #UFCRotterdam tonight!! pic.twitter.com/0ZoHpyrbwl— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) May 8, 2016
If you're not going with Italian herbs and cheese then we don't trust you.
. @Jon_Anik is really taking advantage of all that Dutch culture & #Rotterdam restaurant life has to offer.pic.twitter.com/sR4RdMosey— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) May 8, 2016
Unless you're Anderson Silva. Then just do whatever the hell you want.
I'm like a street. Look both ways before you cross me.— Chael Sonnen (@sonnench) May 8, 2016
Well now the surprise is gone.
I'm surprise kissing Rogan at #ufcottawa.— The Spartan (@EliasTheodorou) May 8, 2016
Everybody trying to make that GGG-Canelo fight happen. No fight I'd rather see.
If there was another guy in my weight class claiming to be the best wrestler in the world, I would want to wrestle him! No questions asked.— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) May 8, 2016
When Khan woke up he was all about Canelo fighting GGG, not trying to rematch him.
Respect to Khan.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 8, 2016
Most established fighters these days look down the divisions for a fight.
Very few are looking up.
This would be a very good duo, though super excitable.
This has the makings of abject sadness all over it.
We've all been there.
SERIOUS WARNING. GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW MAY RUIN YOUR BREAKFAST.
Tony Ferguson (20-3-0) vs. Michael Chiesa (14-2-0); UFC Fight Night 91, July 13.
Beneil Dariush (12-2-0) vs. James Vick (9-0-0); UFC 199, June 4.
Ivan Buchinger (30-4-0) vs. Magomed Idrisov (6-0-0); M-1 Challenge 67, June 4.
Shavkat Rakhmonov (3-0-0) vs. Carlos Alexandre (0-1-0); M-1 Challenge 67, June 4.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2010: Standout UFC flyweight Kyoji Horiguchi made his professional MMA debut, defeating Ranki Kawana by decision at Shooto: Kitazawa Shooto Vol. 3.
2014: Daniel Weichel defeated Desmond Green by rear-naked choke in the Bellator featherweight tournament finals, at Bellator 119.
1993: Bellator lightweight Chuka Willis.
1983: Pride and Dream lightweight standout Shinya Aoki.
1976: Former UFC lightweight Spencer Fisher.
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.