Just when you think Conor McGregor's antics have come to an end, he finds a new way to make the sports world focus on him.
Last month, the outspoken UFC featherweight champion bit the hand that feeds him by taking a stand against the UFC's definition of "reasonable amount of press" when it comes to promoting its events. McGregor failed to appear for a media event to promote his, formally upcoming, non-title rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200. McGregor broke the internet that week and was ultimately pulled from the fight before Diaz was pulled from the card altogether.
Eventually, a rematch between long-time rivals Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier took the spot as the historic event's headliner. But what about McGregor?
According to the Irish fighter, he wants a rematch with Nate Diaz as soon as possible. If you ask UFC President Dana White, McGregor's next fight will be a unification bout between McGregor and the winner of the Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar interim title fight, which will take place at UFC 200. Neither side seems to be in the same book, let alone on the same page.
Then, things got really weird.
This past weekend rumors started flying around that McGregor was going to get in the ring to fight retired boxer Floyd Mayweather. The rumors were quickly squashed by White. That didn't stop McGregor from pouring fuel on the fire. He tweeted a picture on Sunday of himself and Mayweather squaring off.
It's quite possible that McGregor was purely playing up to the internet gossip, once again proving he can own the news cycle without actually doing press, but when it comes to McGregor, the only person that knows what he's up to is the fighter himself.
As for Mayweather, his side has been relatively quiet. The boxer retired in September after beating Andre Berto. After that fight, Mayweather insisted it would be his last, but hardly anyone believed it would. Recently, it was discovered that Mayweather's camp has filed for a trademark on "50." His current record is 49-0, so logic says that Mayweather is going to fight at least one more time. Reaching 50 would beat Rocky Marciano's record of 49-0.
Whether or not there's any truth to the rumor of a fight between McGregor and Mayweather hasn't stopped any one from playing the "what if" game. The latest person to weigh in on the possibility of a MMA vs. boxing match-up is outspoken UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
On a recent episode of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan took a little time to discuss the rumors.
"I don't think [McGregor can fight Mayweather]," explained Rogan. "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."
It's a well known fact that UFC contracts are difficult to get out of. Randy Couture tried to get out of his because he wanted to go after Fedor Emelianenko. That dream ultimately came to an end when it was evident that there was no way Couture would ever be able to get out of his contract, nor would the UFC let him go. While this is historically accurate, Rogan could only see this happening if one thing's involved: money.
"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,'" Rogan theorized. "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?"
Mayweather's fight against Manny Pacquiao set the record for the largest pay-per-view sales with close to 4.4 million. At the same time, McGregor's fight with Diaz at UFC 196 set the record for UFC PPV sales at roughly around 1.5 million. Logic dictates that Mayweather versus McGregor could set a new record, thus making it financially viable for the UFC to play along. Rogan agrees.
"You might say, look the amount of money that you can make with the Mayweather fight is off the charts. Off the charts," Rogan pointed out. "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."
Obviously a win for everyone involved, even if McGregor racks up a loss.
"If he can survive, he's not diminished too much. And Mayweather's not a murderous puncher," stated Rogan. "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."
The UFC isn't the only one that would have to play ball, the boxing commission would have to play along too. A fight between Mayweather, who is arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time, against a man who has zero professional boxing experience, isn't something they would normally be prone to do.
In the end though, the money might be worth them signing off on the fight. It's not as if Mayweather has a huge knockout record or like McGregor can't handle himself in a fight. Add in the fact that McGregor would have a bit of a size advantage should alleviate any safety concerns by the boxing commission or the UFC.
As Rogan puts it, a fight of this caliber would make an "insane" amount of money and although the UFC has never been known to "play well with others," Rogan feels that if anyone can make this happen, it's someone like McGregor. So what happens if McGregor WERE to get in the ring with Mayweather? Rogan's pretty sure he knows how it'll end.
"If Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight in MMA, Conor McGregor will f*ck him up," Rogan states, unequivocally. "He will fuck him up ... But, in a boxing match, I can't imagine a world where Floyd Mayweather doesn't fuck [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 fucking expose the shit out of you."
Rogan goes on to point out that there are two factors that would give an advantage to McGregor: Mayweather's age and, well, Conor McGregor. "One of the things we know about Conor is he has a ridiculous belief in himself and he has unbelievable power," Rogan points out. And it's true, no one is a bigger believer in Conor McGregor than Conor McGregor.
What about you?