Category Archives: UFC

FIRST 5,000 FANS TO RECEIVE FREE LIMITED-EDITIONRANDY COUTURE BOBBLEHEAD AT BELLATOR 186 ONFRIDAY, NOV. 3 AT BRYCE JORDAN CENTER

 

 

EXCLUSIVE RANDY COUTURE MEET AND GREET TO BE HELD FOR BELLATOR 186 TICKETHOLDERS ON FIGHT NIGHT

 

WHAT:           Limited-Edition Randy Couture Bobblehead Giveaway and Meet & Greet

 

Bellator MMA will be giving away a free limited-edition Randy Couture bobblehead on Friday, Nov. 3 to the first 5,000 fans in attendance at Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University for Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell. The bobblehead giveaway is limited to one per person and will only be available to ticketholders upon entry into the arena.

 

Additionally, Bellator MMA fans are invited to attend a unique opportunity to meet the MMA and wrestling great prior to Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell. The meet and greet will take place on the concourse of Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, Nov. 3, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET. Space is limited and fans are encouraged to arrive early to reserve their place in line.

 

***Bobblehead giveaway and meet and greet are exclusively for Bellator 186 ticketholders***

***Bobbleheads distributed at venue points of entry, only while supplies last at each entry***

 

WHERE:         Bryce Jordan Center

127 Bryce Jordan Center

University Park, Pa. 16802

 

WHEN:           Meet & Greet

Friday, November 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET

 

WHO:             Randy Couture

 

Randy Couture (19-11)

Randy “The Natural” Couture made his mark in the sport of wrestling and later MMA, where he was a multiple-time world champion at both heavyweight and light heavyweight. Over his 14-year career, Couture compiled 19 victories, while also competing in 15 title fights. Prior to his professional career in mixed martial arts, the retired United States Army Sergeant made an impact on the high school and collegiate wrestling community by earning a state championship while attending Lynnwood High School in Washington state and a historic collegiate career that saw him become a three-time NCAA DI All-American at Oklahoma State University. Couture also serves as a coach for his son, Ryan Couture, who currently competes in Bellator MMA’s welterweight division.

 

FIGHT INFO: Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell will be broadcast LIVE and FREE on SPIKE, Friday, Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at Bellator.com, as well as the Bryce Jordan Center box office and Ticketmaster.

 

Complete Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell Fight Card:

Light Heavyweight World Title Bout: Ryan Bader (23-5) vs. Linton Vassell (18-5, 1 NC)

Women’s Flyweight World Title Bout: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (6-0) vs. Emily Ducote (6-2)

Light Heavyweight Feature Bout: Phil Davis (17-4, 1 NC) vs. Leo Leite (10-0)

Middleweight Feature Bout: Ed Ruth (3-0) vs. Chris Dempsey (11-5)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Saad Awad (20-9) vs. Zach Freeman (9-2)

 

Preliminary Card:

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Logan Storley (6-0) vs. Matt Secor (9-4)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Tywan Claxton (Pro Debut) vs. Johnny Bonilla-Bowman (1-0)

Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Dominic Mazzotta (12-2) vs. Matt Lozano (8-5)

160 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Brett Martinez (6-4) vs. Mike Wilkins (7-4)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Buenafuente (7-4) vs. Francis Healy (7-4)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Michael Trizano (4-0) vs. Mike Otwell (3-1)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Scott Clymer (Pro Debut) vs. Mike Putnam (1-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Andrew Salas (3-1) vs. Ethan Goss (3-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Josh Fremd (1-0) vs. Mike Diorio (1-0)

FNU Combat Sports Show: Special Guest Angel Manfredy

Tom, Tony and Rich are back together again for another episode of the FNU Combat Sports Show. This week’s combat sports show touches on a variety of subjects, from UFC 216 to Andre Ward’s retirement. We also feature a special interview with former pro boxer Angel Manfredy.

 

Show Opening:

Angel Manfredy Interview:

FNU Combat Sports Show: Canelo/GGG controversy, Featured Guest Eddie Barraco

This episode of the FNU Combat Sports Show features special guest Eddie Barraco. Eddie was a fighter who last connected with us when MySpace was still cool (check out Eddie’s Facebook page Here), and it’s been too long. We cover a wide range of issues and catch up on what he’s been up to as a first class MMA trainer in Las Vegas. Tom, Tony and Rich also discuss the abhorrent judging of Adelaide Byrd, who scored the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight 118-110 in favor of Canelo, who by most accounts lost a close fight at best. Additionally we touch on Ana Julaton’s transition from boxing to MMA, Conor McGregor’s upcoming appearance before congress, and former heavyweight champion boxer Michael Moorer’s new job punching out looters in Florida.

 

Part One and Show Close:

 

Eddie’s Interview:

FNU Combat Sports Show, Canelo vs. Golovkin Preview and Prediction, Jon Jones Stripped, Struve Knocked Out, UFC Fight Night Preview

We cover a wide range of combat sports topics in this week’s episode. From a $22 million settlement awarded to a debilitated boxer and his family to Jon Jones getting stripped of his belt again for a positive steroid test, Tom, Tony and Rich discuss it all. We also make our predictions for Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. We recap Stefan Struve’s TKO loss to Alexander Volkov and preview UFC’s upcoming fight night event as well. We even spend some time discussing all the MMA fighters making the move to boxing.

COMBATE AMERICAS NAMES SPORTS MEDIA SPONSORSHIP SALES EXECUTIVE  MIKE PINE, FIRST-EVER CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER

Combate Americas has named Mike Pine (pictured) the company’s first-ever Chief Revenue Officer.  Pine joins Combate Americas after a two-year stint with FanDuel, where he served as GM, Integrated Partnerships.

Former FanDuel GM, UFC, IRONMAN AND WWE Global Head of Sales
 joins the world’s premier Hispanic MMA sports franchise
In its most explosive growth period to date

NEW YORK – September 13, 2017 – Combate Americas announced today that it has named storied, sports industry business development and sponsorship sales leader Mike Pine, the premier Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports and media franchise’s first-ever Chief Revenue Officer.

Coming off a two-and-a-half-year tenure as GM, Integrated Partnerships for FanDuel, Pine, who was responsible for breaking unprecedented ground for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by securing blue-chip advertising clients Bud Light and Harley Davidson, for the longest-standing MMA organization, will report to Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Pine, an authentic trailblazer in the world of sports and entertainment brand partnerships, to Combate Americas,” said McLaren, also the co-founder of the original UFC.

“Mike’s incredible track record,” continued McLaren, “and extensive book of high-level relationships with marketers from worldwide, renowned brands across a wide range of product categories, speak for themselves, and we are looking forward to having him spearheading our sales efforts as we continue to aggressively expand our footprint across the globe with a fast-growing schedule of live and special events, and television programming for 2018 and beyond.”

Pine will be responsible for building Combate Americas’ portfolio of sponsor partners which, to date, has included the U.S. Army; Aspira A Mas, a Hispanic consumer-targeted offshoot of health insurance industry giant IHC; and consumer electronics pioneer Altec Lansing, across the organizations’ year-round live television event series in the U.S., Mexico and overseas.

Combate Americas television programming airs weekly, including once per month live, in over 137 million homes across the U.S. and Mexico on Azteca America and TV Azteca, respectively, and has been averaging over 3.5 million viewers per episode since “Combate Azteca” premiered in November.

The franchise’s monthly live events also air in an additional 47 million plus homes across Latin America on ESPN LATAM, and it’s most recent event, “Combate Clásico,” a partnership with Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross’ RSE Ventures that took place on July 27, two days before RSE’s “El Clásico Miami” soccer match between legendary clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, ushered the Latino flavored brand to national television in Spain for the first time ever with coverage of the nine-bout fight card in over 20 million homes on the country’s popular sports network, GOL TV.

During his stint at FanDuel, Pine compiled an impressive roster of first-ever landmark industry advertising partners for the online daily fantasy sports platform, including Bud Light, FORD Motor Company, Corona Extra, HBO Sports, Chef’s Cut and Bacardi.

As Global Head of Sales & Partnerships for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Pine forged and developed a host of relationships for the publicly traded, worldwide leading professional sports entertainment brand, with leading consumer electronic, retail and food brands, including Norelco, XBOX, Footlocker, KMART and General Mills.

Prior to his time with WWE, Pine led and oversaw the development of globally renowned agency IMG’s NCAA collegiate sports.  His time at IMG was proceeded as IRONMAN Global Chief Sales Officer & Eight Years @ Turner Broadcasting.

Pine is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and served as Captain, U.S. Air Force.

# # #

FNU Combat Sports Show: Post-Fight Reaction to May/Mac, UFC Fight Night Preview, Sign Tony’s Petition to Throw out First Pitch at a Phillies Game

This week’s combat sports show covers a wide range of topics. Tom, Tony and Rich discuss the dud of a boxing match that proved McGregor needed about six more months of “proper fookin” training to be more competitive in.  Mayweather cruises to 50-0, but Rich questions if that really eclipses the true 50-0 circumstances that would have made Rocky’s unbeaten streak more impressive. After all, Mayweather did not possess an active title belt at the time of the win and the “Money Belt” shouldn’t count as a true championship he was defending. Rocky retired undefeated, owning the belt at 49-0. To eclipse Rocky’s record Floyd would need to have a world title belt or multiple belts at the time of his 50th win being recorded.  We also discuss everything else going on in the combat sports world, except Ronda Rousey and Travis Browne getting married.

 

 

PART TWO

FLOYD MAYWEATHER SCORES 10th ROUND TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT WIN OVER UFC STAR CONOR McGREGOR ON SHOWTIME PPV® FROM T-MOBILE ARENA IN LAS VEGAS

Gervonta Davis, Badou Jack and Andrew Tabiti All Record Victories In Four-Fight SHOWTIME PPV Event
 
Delayed Telecast of Tonight’s Main Event Will Air Exclusively on SHOWTIME® on Saturday, September 2 
at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Click HERE for Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
 
Click HERE for Photos from Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions
LAS VEGAS (Aug. 27, 2017) – Future Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd “Money” Mayweather ended his historic career in style on Saturday night with a convincing 10th-round technical knockout victory over UFC mega-star Conor McGregor in the main event of a four-fight SHOWTIME PPV event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 40-year-old Mayweather, fighting for the first time in 714 days, announced after the fight that he will never fight again, ending his 21-year career in style by controlling an all-action fight that thrilled the 14,623 fans in attendance and watching around the world. With Mayweather coming forward just like he promised, referee Robert Byrd stopped the super welterweight fight at 1:05 of the 10th round as Mayweather punished McGregor with a series of blows that staggered his weary opponent.
With the win, the five-division world champion from Las Vegas becomes the first boxer to finish his career at 50-0, eclipsing the record he had previously shared with the legendary Rocky Marciano.
“I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather told SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray after the fight. “I owed them for the Pacquiao fight. I had to come straight ahead and give the fans a show. That’s what I gave them.”
All three judges – Dave Moretti (87-83), Burt Clements (89-82) and Guido Cavalleri (89-81) – had Mayweather ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. SHOWTIME’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood had Mayweather ahead by the score of 86-85.
The first two-division champion in UFC history, McGregor, from Dublin, Ireland, said he was fatigued as the fight got into the later stages. “He’s composed, he’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there,” the 29-year-old McGregor said. “I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. He was just a lot more composed with his shots. I have to give it to him, that’s what 50 pro fights will do for you.”
Both fighters had their moments in the early rounds. In the fourth round, Mayweather forced McGregor to back-pedal and continued to force the action.
At the midway point of the fight, Farhood had given the first three rounds to the more aggressive McGregor, but then rounds four, five and six to the more accurate Mayweather.
“Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot his shots early and then take him out down the stretch,” Mayweather said. “We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn’t go the distance.
“Our game plan was to go straight ahead. I said numerous times that I wouldn’t back down and that’s what I did.”
McGregor said he would consider boxing again, and would also return to fight in the UFC. “I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back,” he said. “When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different. Let the man put me down, that’s fatigue, that’s not damage.
“Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself.”
Mayweather was lethally accurate in the final round, landing 20 of 26 power punches before the referee stopped the fight. McGregor had a 51-40 advantage in punches landed over the first five rounds but was out-landed 130 to 60 in rounds six through 10 as Mayweather put an exclamation point on the final fight of his career.
“Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day,” said Mayweather. “This was my last fight tonight. For sure. Tonight was my last fight. Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with. Conor, you are a hell of a champion.”
In the co-main event, undefeated rising star Gervonta “Tank” Davis defeated unbeaten challenger Francisco Fonseca via a controversial eighth-round knockout 39 seconds into the round.
The 22-year-old Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) landed a series of clean blows before an apparent shot to the back of the head sent Fonseca down. Referee Russell Mora gave the 10-count allowing Davis to earn his 18th stoppage win in 19 professional fights. The fight was originally scheduled to be Davis’ second defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship, but Davis failed to make weight on Friday, coming two pounds over the 130-pound limit that Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs) weighed-in at.
“I threw the shot as he put his head down,” said Davis. “I was definitely going to stop him eventually. He was in trouble before the last shot.”
Davis continued, “I’m going to stay at 130 pounds and try to get my title back. I still want to unify the junior lightweight division.”
Fonseca said he was sent to the canvas with an illegal blow.
“Everybody saw that when I was going down, he hit me twice behind,” Fonseca said. “It’s a blow that’s not legal. It was here in Las Vegas, so he had the crowd going for him, and I just want a rematch. He never hurt me with that exchange. Even though he came in at 160 pounds today, he doesn’t hit as hard as they say he hits.”
Former super middleweight champion Badou Jack became a two-division world champion with a TKO win over Nathan Cleverly to capture the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship.
The Las Vegas-based, Swedish-born Jack (21-1-3, 13 KOs) out-classed Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs) in a one-sided bout that was stopped by referee Tony Weeks with 12 seconds remaining in the fifth round. It was the first fight for Jack since moving up from 168 pounds to 175 pounds.
Jack had recorded majority draws in each of his past two fights against James DeGale of England and Canada’s Lucian Bute.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the 33-year-old Jack. “I’ve learned that you can’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”
“Jack was very strong,” said Cleverly. “He caught me and broke my nose in the third round. It was a downward spiral from there. I was wounded and protecting myself. It’s horrible but part of the sport.”
Jim Gray asked Jack who he would like to fight next, Andre Ward or Adonis Stevenson? “I think Adonis Stevenson, let’s get it on. I’ll go to Canada. I’ll go anywhere.”
“I got a little excited at times but I barely got hit,” Jack said. “My boxing IQ was the difference in this fight. Everybody doubting me motivated me. My trainer and my team did a great job getting me to this point.”
The PPV telecast began with unbeaten Andrew Tabiti and former world champion Steve Cunningham meeting in a 10-round cruiserweight battle. Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs) controlled the action against the 41-year-old Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs) on his way to a unanimous decision scored 97-93 twice and 100-90.
With Floyd Mayweather Sr. working in his corner, the 27-year-old Tabiti set the tempo early and set the pace for the entire fight. “I was just jabbing him and making sure I stayed smart,” Tabiti said. “He’s a veteran so I had to stay composed. I wanted to show that I could box. This was a step up for me and I felt comfortable in there.”
A Chicago native who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Tabiti landed 31 percent of his jabs (70 of 229) and 49 percent of his power punches compared to just 27 percent for Cunningham. With the win, Tabiti retains the NABF cruiserweight title and won the USBA cruiserweight championship.
“He had a decent jab but he wasn’t busy enough,” Tabiti added. “I just didn’t want to make mistakes. If you start too fast against a veteran you’re liable to get caught by him.”
Cunningham wasn’t impressed with Tabiti. “I don’t think Andrew Tabiti is a championship level fighter,” he said. “I thought I won the fight. I didn’t think I saw anything special from him.”
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MAYWEATHER vs. McGREGOR
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor was a 12-round super welterweight matchup that pitted the legendary boxer Mayweather against the all-time MMA great McGregor in the main event of an unprecedented four-fight pay-per-view boxing event.  Mayweather vs. McGregor took place Saturday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  The event was produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV, promoted by Mayweather Promotions and sponsored by Corona.

Yordenis Ugas Earns Decision Over Thomas Dulorme in Action-Packed Welterweight Bout Featured on Mayweather vs. McGregor Prelims on FOX & FOX Deportes Saturday Night from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

 
Juan Heraldez Recovers From Knockdown to Win Decision Over Jose Miguel Borrego in Battle of Unbeaten Prospects
 
Click HERE for Photos from Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions
 
LAS VEGAS (August 26, 2017) – Welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs) took home a unanimous decision victory over Thomas Dulorme (24-3, 16 KOs) despite being knocked down in Mayweather vs. McGregor preliminary action presented by Mayweather Promotions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday night from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Both men looked to establish their jab in round one but in round two Ugas landed a big uppercut that stunned Dulorme and forced him to take a knee. Dulorme rose to his feet and tried to fire back but was hit with a right hand that put him down for the second time in the round.
“It was a great fight,” said Ugas. “I knew that Dulorme had a great camp preparing for Shawn Porter so when I knocked him down I figured he would get up. I only had nine days to prepare for this fight so I had to be smart and not waste anything.”
“It was a good fight,” said Dulorme. “It was a very tough fight. I came to fight and I took him seriously. I kept working. It was up and down but I kept working.
The bout was defined by good back and forth action with both men having their moments in control. Dulorme was committed to attacking the body to slow Ugas but was given a warning for low blows in the fifth round. Dulorme continued to test the body however and strayed too low early in the seventh round, forcing referee Vic Drakulich to deduct a point.
The deduction seemed to light a fire under Dulorme who pushed forward and began to break through the defense of Ugas. An uppercut temporarily stunned Ugas midway through the round and Dulorme followed up shortly after with a left hook that put Ugas on the canvas.
“When I got knocked down I knew I had to get up and show heart and guts,” said Ugas. “That was the only way to do it.”
The momentum of the fight continued to swing heading into the final round when Dulorme again delivered a low blow that forced the referee to deduct a point early in the frame. Both men pressed forward for the final minutes of the fight looking to score another decisive blow but after 10 rounds the fight was left up to the judges.
“I thought the referee lost the fight for me,” said Dulorme. “I didn’t agree with him. I didn’t think I was throwing low blows. I thought it was clean. I thought he was tired late in the fight so I tried to increase the pressure. But it was hard because the referee didn’t let me work on the inside like I wanted to.”
“I got a little tired at the end and should have closed the show,” said Ugas. “But that happens with short notice fights. I just have to keep getting better.”
All three judges saw the bout in favor of Ugas by scores of 94-91 and 93-92 twice.
“I’m going to get back in camp and keep learning,” said Dulorme. “I’m not happy, but I’m going to keep learning. I got off the floor today and kept fighting and I’ll keep doing that in my career.”
The opening bout of the telecast saw Juan Heraldez (13-0, 8 KOs) box his way to a unanimous decision over Jose Miguel Borrego (12-1, 11 KOs) in their 10-round welterweight fight.
“I was very prepared and I took advantage of this opportunity,” said Heraldez. “I executed my plan and came out with a clear victory. Other than the knockdown, I thought that I outboxed him every other round. “The jab was really the key tonight. I dictated everything off of the jab and tried to use my angles, my footwork and my movement. I did what I wanted to do.”
Heraldez controlled the ring for much of the fight with his jab and movement on the outside, while Borrego appeared focused on delivering power shots and a knockout. Heraldez controlled the pace in the first few rounds, landing scoring combinations before darting out of the way and avoiding Borrego’s return fire.
“Heraldez ran the whole fight,” said Borrego. “I’m happy that the fans booed the decision because they know he ran. I came to entertain the fans and that’s what I did.”
The 19-year-old Borrego was content to cover up and duck low while trying to navigate through Heraldez’s jab, but was unable to land enough left hooks to win early rounds in the fight. He had his first moment at the very end of the sixth when a looping left hook connected clean with Heraldez and appeared to stun him right before the bell ended the round.
Borrego continued to attack aggressively as he chased Heraldez with big power punches. In round nine Borrego connected cleanly with a left hook that put Heraldez on the mat midway through the round.
“I let myself get distracted and that’s why I got knocked down,” said Heraldez. I got a little ahead of myself. I’m the only person who can stop myself.
Despite Borrego’s continued aggression, Heraldez was able to hold on and survive the round without much further damage.
“I have to cut the ring off better,” said Borrego. “I also need to let my hands go more and throw three or four punch combinations instead of just one or two at a time.”
The final round saw Heraldez return to using his movement as he was able to avoid the charging Borrego for the last three minutes. After 10 rounds, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Heraldez by scores of 96-93 and 97-92 twice.
“It feels great to be on this stage and it’s moments like these where I can go out and compete and I can prove everyone right who gave me this chance,” said Heraldez. “This was a prospect fight and now I’m on to bigger and better things. I’m ready to take the next step.”
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For more information: visit http://www.foxsports.com/presspass/homepagewww.foxdeportes.com and www.t-mobilearena.com. Follow on Twitter @MayweatherPromo, @FOXSports, @FOXDeportes and @Swanson_Comm and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/foxsports, www.facebook.com/foxdeportesand www.facebook.com/MayweatherPromotions.

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.

 

 

 

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Official Weights & Weigh-In Photos

Mayweather vs. McGregor ** In-Depth Preview and Analysis **

Mayweather vs. McGregor ** In-Depth Preview and Analysis **

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Click HERE for Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Click HERE for Photos from Chris Farina/Mayweather Promotions