UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor was #85 on the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes last year, with $22,000,000. Mayweather was #16 with $44,000,000, and the year before that, Mayweather was #1 with $300,000,000. A fight between the pair, under any rules, makes financial sense.
On May 6, a report surfaced in Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun that UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr, the greatest boxer of his generation, were about to announce they’d be boxing in Vegas. The next day Mayweather Sr confirmed the pair would be fighting.
The hardcore fanbase was dubious in the extreme, but UFC color commentator Joe Rogan speculated about how and why the UFC could allow it to take place, which pushed it at least into possible.
Then reality entered the discussion. UFC president Dana White said he was open to discussion, but it began with elbows, kicks, AND punches. And on April 1st, McGregor and Mayweather even fought in a bar.
The discussion died down until July, when McGregor’s team released footage of ‘Notorious’ boxing sparring with former world boxing champion Chris Van Heerden. Van Heerden said Mayweather would outbox McGregor all day, and that set off more weeks of chatter.
However, over and again White noted that Floyd had never called him. And McGregor’s contract with the UFC forbids him from participating in other combat sports without permission, so the fight had to go through White. White and Mayweather had been amiable acquaintances when White was getting started in combat sports management before he put together the plan to buy the UFC.
But it still didn’t end.
McGregor took part in a LADbible-sponsored Facebook Live Q&A and threatened to show up at Mayweather’s door. Then Mayweather said he was an elephant to McGregor’s ant. And McGregor played hard to get, saying he might box one of Mayweather’s previous opponents.
In November, McGregor revealed his terms – nine figures. Now during an appearance on ESPN First Take, for the first time, Mayweather revealed his term, too.
“We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight,” revealed Mayweather, as transcribed by Tom Ngo for 5thRound. “Well, we tried to make the Conor McGregor fight, they knew what my number is. My number was a guaranteed $100 million, that was my number. We’re the A-side.
“I don’t really know how much money he has made before. I don’t really know how much money Conor McGregor has made, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t even made $10 million in a MMA bout. But we are willing to give him $15 million, and then we can talk about splitting the percentage, the back-end percentage on pay-per-view. But of course, we’re the A-side. How can a guy talk about $20 or $30 million if he’s never even made $8 or $9 million?”
“I’m saying right here on this show, Conor McGregor keep telling everybody he want the fight, let’s make it happen. The only thing I’m probably interested in [if I came out of retirement], is probably the Conor McGregor fight. I’m a business man and it makes more business sense.”