When it was first announced that Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor was officially happening, I along with millions of others was excited about the future matchup. Even more exciting than the fight itself was the press conference to come, which I was most looking forward to. It’s always at the press conference that Conor seems to defeat his opponents. Since I am a fan of MMA and know very little about boxing, I wonder how it would go with these sports merging and the biggest names from combat sports coming together to fight.
I know very little about Floyd Mayweather. I have never seen him fight. What I do know about him isn’t all that great. He is convicted of domestic violence. The videos that TMZ posts about him seem to be only about money, cars, and women. The one positive thing I knew about Floyd Mayweather was that he had an exceptional record of 49-0. Although he has a great record in the ring, I wondered how this guy would match up against Conor outside of it.
Not long after the fight announcement, the press tour was announced. Four cities in four days seemed just right. Or so I thought. What had actually happened was not what I was expecting to happen. The boxing world was vastly different from the UFC world.
Day one in Los Angeles started off in a strange way. Or shall I say different. UFC fans are used to a certain style of a press conference. Everyone is seated and they engage with the media. A boxing press conference is nothing like that. When Conor finally appeared, the crowd went crazy for him. He was in his element. After a few minutes of being alone on stage he appeared uncomfortable and not sure what to do. Then finally Floyd Mayweather comes to the stage with his entourage. It got stranger when everyone gave a speech. I’m confused by all of it. Why does the head of Showtime Sports, someone from MGM Resorts International, and CEO of Team Money Mayweather have to give a speech? The fans didn’t show up at the Staples Center to hear them. The only person that got the memo was Dana White. He quickly introduced Conor. The first day of the tour didn’t seem like a winner for either side. Conor wasn’t aware how things went at boxing press conference and it seemed like most of the crowd booed Floyd Mayweather.
Day two as everyone who watched the conference or has read about it already knows that Conor hit it out of the park. He completely took over. He was the Conor that all UFC fans know. Floyd enjoyed everything that Conor was saying. It didn’t get to him whatsoever. He laughed as the crowed shouted “fuck the Mayweathers”.
Day three is when it all went to shit. Being a part of an incredible moment and being some of the biggest names in sports doesn’t give you a pass to show up late. Keeping the fans waiting for over two hours is unacceptable. By that point, the crowd is against you even if they are a fan of yours. A moment that I think everyone will continue to wonder is why was Doug E. Fresh there?
As soon as the fighters started talking, specifically Conor, I think everyone knew at that moment that it was a disaster. He tackled the race issue in the most awkward and embarrassing way. Couldn’t someone from the UFC coach him prior to saying anything? Or make a statement outside of the press conferences regarding his use of the word “boy”? This is where UFC and Dana White majorly fucked up. The first time I heard Conor say “dance for me boy” in LA, I cringed a little. Then I thought that Conor may not understand why what he was saying was wrong. He is from Ireland. However, after that someone from UFC should’ve told him to not repeat that phrase. Conor only made it worse when he got on stage in Brooklyn. Conor is a huge money maker for the UFC, which is why he’s getting this opportunity against Floyd, but that doesn’t mean he should be allowed to say everything and anything.
By day four, I think everyone watching these conferences was exhausted. Neither fighters brought anything new to the conference. The same speeches were made. The same reaction from the crowd. Nothing really changed from day one to day four. The organizers of the event didn’t make any changes to the format.
I don’t think it sold anymore ppv’s. Even if Conor and Floyd had done a press tour, this upcoming PPV will still probably end up being the biggest selling in history. If there are any future mashups between UFC and Boxing, the press conferences must be different. It must be shorter, organized, and focused on the fighters. You want to make the fans watch. The waiting and then the length of the conference made me want to tune out. Hopefully there aren’t any press conferences until then.
Also, Floyd didn’t seem one bit flustered by Conor. He seemed to enjoy himself during the entire tour. I think Floyd’s shining moments were after the press tour. Ariel Helwani got plenty of time after the show to interview both fighters. Floyd showed a side and gave a glimpse into his life I didn’t know about. The man has a lot of money and he’s definitely not stingy. He has an empire of 200 employees. A very diverse group of employees from many different backgrounds. And he shares his wealth with the people that need it most. Have I heard Conor do anything charitable? No.
Everyone who watched these conferences is probably glad they are over and now we can look forward to fight.
41 days to go.