Category Archives: Rich Bergeron

How Will Mayweather vs. McGregor Shape the Future of Crossover Fights?

By: Rich Bergeron

Fight News Unlimited is well aware of the term “MMA vs. Boxing Debate.” We had a whole radio show series on the subject, culminating with a full-fledged argument between Iceman John Scully (A Former Pro Boxer and Current Boxing Trainer) and Ken Shamrock (A Pro Wrestler, UFC Fighter and MMA trainer). The tipping point then was females in boxing and MMA. Shamrock supported their efforts while Scully took the argument that he did not want to see a woman get punched in the face.

This evening we are about to experience the largest corssover fight in the history of combat sports. A young, hungry, rabid MMA-fighting walk-on from the mean streets of Ireland faces a brash American coming out of retirement after a professional boxing career for the ages. The experience favors the expert at his craft, the most talented defensive fighter in the modern era of boxing. Floyd should cruise to victory, and the knockout he predicts is something many fans and speculators are placing in the 6th to 7th round range.

McGregor can win in any scenario where he sees the final bell, whether the decision favors him or not. All he has to do is entertain, push Floyd to points he’s never been pushed before, and get under Floyd’s skin. Even if it’s in a losing effort, Conor has to be a character that can sell another fight. Floyd repeatedly said in press tour events that he would fight Conor in the Octagon next. This is clearly Mayweather just trying to think about the big picture, but a one sided beating of McGregor won’t get fans talking too much about an Octagon faceoff. Some speculators insist Floyd will purposely let off the gas and let McGregor have his 12 rounds of action. The more Floyd makes Conor look like a clown, though, this approach could do neither fighter any good in the long run.

Conor could certainly pull off his own knockout of Floyd Mayweather in the first four rounds, as he predicted. It is within the realm of possibility. Yet the big knockout either way the fight goes will be how Conor handles his business after this bout.

 

McGregor Sports and Entertainment became a brand even Dana White represented with a branded shirt the other night at the final press conference. I initially felt let down that White didn’t place any other UFC fighters on the undercard of this mega boxing event. The more I thought about the approach, though, the more I imagined White is looking to do more of that down the road, but only if McGregor can shock the world or at least upset the apple cart of boxing in some small way.

 

Multiple boxers are clamoring for a chance to face an MMA fighter in crossover fights at every major division now that May/Mac set the table. David Haye and Anthony Joshua are just two heavyweights expressing interest in boxing MMA fighters. Joshua would even enter the cage if no submissionswere allowed. Tony Bellew wants a fight with Michael Bisping. Roy Jones Jr. wants to fight Anderson Silva and has been angling for that opportunity for years now.

 

The real crossover Conor could tap into is one I fear he will fail to capitalize on, though. There is tremendous potential in getting the kind of money pro boxers make to make the crossover to MMA fighter contracts. There’s been much speculation as to how White can get away with having the UFC co-promote a boxing match when the UFC’s management tactics do not meet the standards outlined in the Ali Act, which mandates certain crucial protections must be afforded to professional boxers.

 

Rather than come back to the sport of MMA after this fight and claim all the cash and prizes for himself, Conor should be the rising tide that lifs all boats. A true hero of his sport would see to it that he’s not the only one making money because he helped put MMA on the real world stage with his performance tonight. He could be an incredible mouthpiece for changing the way all fighters do business. The UFC and Dana White are notoriously greedy when it comes to controlling interests in their fistfighting employees. This is what makes the ongoing Anti-Trust lawsuit against the company so complicated.

 

As certain fighters who don’t like the UFC’s contract offers jump ship for Bellator, White and the UFC responded with the Instant Ultimate Fighter concept: The Contender Series. Every week a new fighter gets a contract. The army is always growing is their obvious approach here. McGregor could lead the charge of larger than life fighters who say no to the UFC and fight back against the company’s urge to give fighters so little in return for such great efforts.

 

Tonight’s fight may determine whether or not White and the UFC ever promote another crossover fight. Each time they do, though, it will likely be headlined by just one MMA fighter vs. a boxer and not a stacked card. That way they can make each occurence a major event, even if it turns out to be a joke as many predict tonight will turn out to be.

 

It is all about how McGregor handles the aftermath in my eyes. Will he step up and speak out for the other fighters getting shafted on their UFC contracts? Will he be able to get that boxing money on the table for himself and his fellow fighters in the UFC and across the MMA landscape? His options will surely increase even in a competitive loss, which makes going down by KO, DQ or lopsided beating the only ways he doesn’t come out smelling like roses. No matter what happens, he has to use the attention constructively to improve both sports.

 

The debate can be solved, but I believe the future holds a chance for a new tournament format. First there is a boxing match, then an MMA fight. Six weeks apart, both fighters have six months to train before the first fight. It’s the next logical step, and there will be a boxer who takes the challenge.

 

Mayweather can impress the purists with either a demolition over 12 rounds or a KO within the distance. McGregor only has to survive valiantly to turn more heads and gain more popularity. If he wins he chooses his own destiny and makes a ton of pundits and critics eat their words. The question is what happens next? Will the debate be solved whatever happens at the end of the night?

 

FAT CHANCE….

 

McGregor can have a big hand in whatever shakes out next for the crossover market. Will it be attractive and lucrative in the months and years to come, or will this fight go down as a fad that left most fans bitterly disappointed? If it makes McGregor more famous than he already is, it’s a win, so I would love to see him make that win mean something. If he can find a way to help all of the fighters on the UFC roster get more of the money on the table, I’m in his corner.

 

 

 

FNU COMBAT SPORTS SHOW: UFC Fight Night Recap (Pettis vs. Moreno); Boxing Results; Mayweather vs. McGregor Latest News

This week’s combat sports show features Tom, Tony and Rich having some great discussions about McGregor/Mayweather (and why Dana White didn’t add any MMA fighters to the undercard), UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno, this week’s boxing results, and even Tony’s Phillies Superphan Bobblehead Doll:

Listen to the broadcast below:

 

FNU Combat Sports Show: UFC 214 breakdown, Nobody Likes Dana White, Tom and Tony break down Broner vs. Garcia and Lomachenko vs. Marriaga

This week’s combat sports show is a split personality situation. We had technical difficulties getting all of us together for the show, so we recorded Tom and Tony chatting with each other on Thursday night. I’ve added my portion today. It all worked out to some incredible insight about Mayweather vs. McGregor, Dana White’s growing problem with disgruntled stars in the UFC, Broner vs. Garcia and Lomachenko vs. Marriaga. We also break down Jon Jones beating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 and the implications for a Brock Lesnar showdown in the Octagon. It’s far from likely, but it’s intriguing. We also touch on the retirements of Juan Manuel Marquez and Wladimir Klitschko.

Tom and Tony Talk Shop:

Rich Wraps it Up:

 

FNU Combat Sports Show: Mayweather vs. McGregor, UFC 214 Preview

This week’s show features lots of Mayweather vs. McGregor discussion and a look back at the last two weeks in combat sports. We preview this weekend’s fights as well. Tune in to find out what Rich’s new favorite Conor McGregor insult is…and why it applies to Dana White as well. Psychic Tom gives his valuable insight and Tony the Tornado breaks down all the boxing angles in this episode.

FNU Combat Sports Show: July 13, 2017

Mayweather and McGregor lead off tonight’s show as Tony and Rich tease Psychic Tom about not wanting to watch the August 26th “superfight.” We also recap the TUF 25 Finale and UFC 213 cards. We preview the Bellator and UFC cards coming up this weekend and all the incredible boxing action from the UK to New York.

FNU Combat Sports Show: PFL Debut, Pac-Man Upset and UFC Fight Previews

This episode of the FNU Combat Sports Show features Tom, Tony and Rich discussing the controversy surrounding Jeff Horn’s upset of Manny Pacquiao and recapping the combat sports action from last week. We also highlight the upcoming schedule, including an action-packed weekend for the UFC with the Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday night and UFC 213 on Saturday night.

FNU Combat Sports Show: UFC and Bellator Recaps, PFL Preview, Boxing Schedule

Tom, Tony and Rich recap last week’s major events, including the controversial UFC Fight Night 112 finish and the near double KO at Bellator 180 from Madison Square Garden. We also discuss Conor McGregor calling out Khabib Nurmagomedov for his next opponent in the UFC Octagon. We of course also break down Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn.

 

 

FNU Combat Sports Show With Special Guest Richard Barrientes, Pound For Pound Boxing Gym Coach

Tom, Tony and Rich interview an up-and-coming Vegas boxing coach who is starting to make some real waves with his amateur and pro pupils. Richard Barrientes is obviously doing a great job with his students, and we had to know what his secret was. He points to “consistency” and “fundamentals” as the foundation for a great fighter, and he also puts a lot of work in every day to put his Las Vegas Pound 4 Pound gym on the world stage in a huge way. This was a fantastic interview with a man who obviously cares deeply about the sport and wants to make a positive impact on society. His hard work paid off in giving him a group of kids who could become future world champions in their respective divisions. He is indeed, doing something right in Las Vegas, and he explains everything about his program in this interview.

Tom, Tony and Rich also discussed Mayweather vs. McGregor, Tim Hague’s recent death after a brutal defeat in boxing, Female Boxer Heather Hardy’s pro MMA debut for Bellator, and Matt Hughes’ tragic accident in the first part of the broadcast. We also chat about Tony Penecale’s Boxing 101 video with his trainees and Hank Cisco:

We wrap up the show with a recap of last week’s UFC Fight Night and all the boxing action, plus we look ahead to this weekend’s boxing matches and the stacked MMA lineups for Bellator and the UFC.

FNU Combat Sports Show: Mayweather vs. McGregor set for August 26th, Ward vs. Kovalev II Preview, UFC Fight Night Hunt Vs. Lewis Recap

“Psychic” Tom Padgett earned his nickname last week in predicting Mark Hunt would be buoyed to a win over Derrick Lewis in front of his hometown New Zealand fans at the latest UFC Fight Night. We recap the fight card and preview this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card from Singapore. Tom, Tony and Rich also chat about Mayweather vs. McGregor getting signed. We additionally recap last week’s biggest boxing results and the upcoming weekend’s best fights, including a rematch of Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev. Listen to the two part broadcast below.

 

 

Psychic Tom Predicts Win For Mark Hunt; Rabble Rousin’ Rich Opens the Show with Demetrious Johnson vs. Dana White Rant; Tony the Tornado rips Stevenson/Fonfara on this week’s FNU Combat Sports Show

Rich Bergeron opens this week’s FNU Combat Sports show by giving his unique take on the Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson feud with the UFC brass, namely Dana White. Upon refusing to take a fight with T.J. Dillashaw without getting certain assurances and conditions met, many fans on social media insisted DJ was running scared. Even Dillashaw took the opportunity to blast the move by the flyweight champ as “chickenshit.” Dana White even reportedly threatened to shut down the entire flyweight division if Johnson refused to fight TJ. “Mighty Mouse” didn’t blink and didn’t cave to the organization’s demands, and Rich explains in his opening dialogue why DJ should be respected and given the benefit of the doubt for his decision rather than being criticized and dragged through the mud for standing up for himself.

 

During the rest of the broadcast, Tony “The Tornado” Penecale details his night out at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia for a fight card headlined by Hank Lundy. He also recaps Fonfara vs. Stevenson II and calls the fight “a disgrace.”

 

“Psychic” Tom Padgett chips in with some post-fight analysis of Aldo vs. Holloway. He also predicts Mark Hunt will benefit from home cage advantage in his battle with Derrick Lewis this weekend at UFC Fight Night 110 in New Zealand.

 

There’s also an update on Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC and Brock Lesnar and lots of other fight previews and recaps. Listen to the whole broadcast to catch up on what’s new in combat sports this week.