Mayweather-McGregor Already Getting Big PPV Hype; Should Fight Fans Embrace Spectacle?
UFC President Dana White said that "oddsmakers are already taking bets" on how many PPV buys the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight set for Aug. 26 will attract -- "over, or under 4.9 million," according to Claire Atkinson of the N.Y. POST. White: "It’s the biggest fight ever in the history of combat sports. If McGregor knocks him out, he will be the biggest star in sports ever. If Floyd runs away from him and it turns into a track meet, well we’ll see what happens" (NYPOST.com, 6/18). Former HBO Sports Senior VP/Programming Kery Davis, now Howard Univ. AD, said of the economic impact of the bout, "This fight could generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million. I do believe there is a huge segment of the populace who are combat fans or who are just sports fans, who are going to be interested in seeing this spectacle." In N.Y., Kevin Draper wrote if Davis is correct with the $400M figure, it "will be one of the most lucrative fights ever" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/17).
HERE WE ARE NOW, ENTERTAIN US: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole wrote Mayweather-McGregor is a "one-off event and whether it’s the greatest sporting event of all time or (more likely) a dreadful match from a competitive standpoint, it’s not going to impact the fortunes of either" boxing or MMA. The bout comes in the "midst of a superb year" for boxing, as the sport is in a "good place, and it will stay there as long as promoters continue to make the best fights and get away from the horrendous habit of pitting their fighters in mismatches." Iole: "Thankfully, it’s been more of the former than the latter in 2017, and the fans responded" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/16). VICE SPORTS' Jeff Harder wrote MMA is a sport that has "already accommodated CM Punk and Jose Canseco" as fighters and "has a high tolerance for sideshows." Whatever damage this fight "might have done to the sport of boxing was already done by Mayweather-Pacquiao after more than a half decade of hype, promises of something special, and a dud of an evening." Mayweather-McGregor is on a "sped-up timeline with no pretense of greatness, just spectacle" (SPORTS.VICE.com, 6/16). In Miami, Greg Cote wrote the fight "taps old vs. new and the boxing vs. MMA rivalry but mostly is driven by two outlandish personalities -- both men polarizing, as disliked as they are popular." Cote: "Rarely have two athletes gone head to head in equal need of comeuppance, of humbling. Only one can suffer that, and -- guilty pleasure or not -- America will be watching to find out who" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/18).