The UFC president spoke to ESPN Radio’s Russillo & Kanell about rumours surrounding a blockbuster fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Though the obstacles were immediately apparent upon the release of the rumours linking the two world champions with a crossover superfight, it’s interesting to hear them straight from the man who holds the key to the minuscule chances of it happening.
Having offered to answer the phone were Mayweather to call him, White doesn’t expect the undefeated boxing legend to reciprocate any time soon.
“Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are in the same sport.”, White said via ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
“It took how long for those two to fight? Now imagine how hard it would be to get (Mayweather and McGregor) to fight. They’re not in the same sport.”
“The money they made in this last fight pales in comparison to what they would have made if they fought in their prime. If those guys actually fought in their prime it would have been even bigger. But that’s the problem with boxing.”
‘The Fight of the Century’ which White refers to took place in May of 2015 after over seven years of negotiations and back-and-forth stipulations.
It’s a valid point that White makes, especially when one considers the power that boxers now wield outside of the ring when it comes to matchmaking. Blood-testing, gloves, purse split and the ring size are just some of the demands Mayweather has placed in the past – a stark contrast to the situation in the UFC, where the company holds all the keys to the famed Octagon.
Player power has put paid to many a fight in modern boxing.
Ironically, it’s McGregor himself who stoked the debate in recent weeks before the Mayweather hype, regarding the difference in the two sports.
Having refused to carry out promotional duties for UFC 200 in July, arguably the sport’s biggest star in Conor McGregor was pulled from the main event by the UFC, which prides itself on control of it’s combatants. For comparison’s sake – Mayweather has his very own promotion.
All that being said, Mayweather wouldn’t need to spend seven years ruminating over a potential Conor McGregor showdown. Going from a modern boxing great in Manny Pacquiao to what would be a rank amateur with just supreme athleticism to his name would represent the easiest nine figures that anyone could make.
“Is this thing going to be MMA or boxing rules?” White asked.
Make no mistake, a fight of this nature would take place in a boxing ring rather than a cage. ‘The Notorious’ is just about mad enough to lace up the 8oz. gloves, while ‘Money’ is far too clever to follow in the footsteps of James Toney.
Though White remains rightly unconvinced that it’ll never occur, he won’t stand in the way just yet.
“Who’s getting the lion’s share of the money? It’s impossible. But like I’ve said, ‘Floyd, you want to fight Conor, call me.”
While Floyd would most likely receive the majority of the lucrative purse, McGregor would still earn multiples of the reported 10 million he made in his loss to Nate Diaz in March. Speaking to Conan O’Brien last year, the Irishman indicated his willingness to make the jump to boxing in order to face arguably it’s greatest exponent.
“If you’re asking me if I would like to fight Floyd, I mean who would not like to dance around the ring for 180 million dollars? It would be something that appeals to me very much.
I certainly know he would not want to step into my world. The world of pure unarmed combat where there are no limitations. But I most certainly would step into his world. I would certainly box him if that opportunity arose. Most certainly.”
Whether the UFC and Mayweather will match McGregor’s ambitions remains to be seen.