By Larry Bisagni
0-1. 0 KO.
What should a guy do, stay in his lane?
If Conor McGregor wants to really bring in the paper, he should keep boxing.
Yes, Floyd Mayweather is 40 years old. Yes, Floyd Mayweather is well past his prime. Yes, Floyd Mayweather vintage 2006 might not have even been hit.
Floyd Mayweather is also maybe (and that’s an iffy maybe) the greatest non-heavyweight not named Sugar Ray Robinson to ever lace up the gloves. Even at 40, there is no shame in Conor McGregor being outclassed by Money. McGregor came to fight, he kept it clean, and didn’t resort to any MMA tactics that could have gotten him disqualified from a boxing match.
In fact, Conor McGregor brought it. Quite a few pundits (including this one) have a full plate of crow to feast upon today. McGregor won over a lot of naysayers with his performance last night. I thought it would be a yawner. Conor McGregor made Floyd Mayweather fight for his fiftieth W.
So if McGregor lost, why keep boxing when the UFC is his meal ticket?
Because it WAS his meal ticket.
The answer is in the name of last night’s opponent: Money.
Conor McGregor is the biggest draw in contact sports today, period. Bigger than GGG, bigger than Canelo Alvarez, bigger than any other fighter that the UFC has to offer. Most sports fans wouldn’t know current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder if he were standing next to them on the subway. McGregor has the crossover marketing appeal of a Tiger Woods once upon a time, or a Steph Curry. Love him or hate him, people know and recognize McGregor right away, even when the chest piece ink is covered.
Also, a UFC fighter’s shelf life is very short. Today you’re the toast of the town; tomorrow, you’re simply toast. Ronda Rousey anyone? She has all but vanished.
McGregor gets somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million per fight in the UFC. He made somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million last night. No, he won’t get that type of money in his next couple of boxing matches, but he will command north of $20-$30 million, and I could easily be shortchanging him by a few million dollars. I’m sorry MMA fans, but he’s not making that kind of coin in the octagon. McGregor can fill any arena on this planet. Dana White knows that, and you had better believe that Bob Arum knows that as well.
$100 million in the bank next year for McGregor? Not bad for a guy who was on the dole at the beginning of this decade. McGregor can breathe life back into a dying sport, and line his pockets from Vegas to Dublin.
Here’s to 2018.