Amid concerns over Conor McGregor's ability to survive in the ring against Floyd Mayweather, UFC president Dana White released two videos from McGregor's sparring sessions with Paul Malignaggi. On Friday, The Notorious held an open workout at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas where he put some odd training techniques and slow heavy bag speed on display for those in attendance.
White also responded to the people doubting McGregor's boxing skills by posting two videos of The Notorious sparring with Malignaggi, including a clip where it appears Conor knocked down the former world champion.
A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on Aug 11, 2017 at 8:46pm PDT
Earlier this month, Malignaggi abruptly quit as McGregor's sparring partner after photos from their session leaked. The former boxer claims he was pushed in the photo showing him lying on the mat with Conor standing over him.
Its not nice 2 paint a pic that isn't true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds 1 through 12 UNEDITED https://t.co/R82BLiMMVm
We already ran down reasons why McGregor (almost assuredly) will not beat Mayweather when they meet Aug. 26. For starters there’s the obvious like McGregor’s extreme inexperience and Mayweather’s standing as one of boxing’s living legends. But there are a few legit reasons why the McGregor, a 4-1 underdog, actually has a chance to pull off the upset.
We’ll start with the age difference. Having turned 29 July 14th, McGregor will enter the ring with 11 years on Mayweather and will undoubtedly be the quicker and more athletic fighter. The speed Mayweather was known for in his prime, throwing and landing punches at a blindingly fast pace and dodging his opponents' punches like he's Neo from “The Matrix,” is a thing of the past.
“This is not the elite Floyd Mayweather,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “He’s 40 years old. He’s been away from the game for two years. He took the fight on short notice. Those things should be accounted for. They will be accounted for.”
McGregor, the bigger man, will look physically imposing standing next to Mayweather when they weigh-in on the Friday before the fight. In his prime and already ripped, McGregor will be an Adonis while Atlas contends that even though Mayweather will look impressive, he can already see Father Time taking his toll.
“In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.” — DANA WHITE
“His body doesn’t even look the same,” says Atlas. “It’s got that softer look when you get a little older. The muscles have changed a little bit. To the eye that knows to look at that stuff it’s noticeable.”
Even if Mayweather might be a tick slower than we’re used to seeing, nobody expects McGregor to outbox one of the greats. But it’s the unknown that could earn the MMA star the unlikely win. Screwy things happen in boxing all the time—and we’re not even talking about some messed up judge’s scorecard. What if a cut opens over the eye of Mayweather from an inadvertent headbutt? What if Mayweather fractures his hand on a punch and is essentially reduced to a one-armed fighter? Boxing fans know Mayweather’s reputation for having brittle hands.
“I’ve seen Floyd fracture both hands in a fight,” says Mayweather CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “I know Conor McGregor is bigger, stronger, thinks he’s faster, and thinks he’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out. But any damn thing can happen. Floyd could cross his head in the fourth round and not be able to use his right hand.”
Even when his fists aren’t giving him problems, Mayweather isn’t exactly a knockout artist (his career knockout percentage: 53). McGregor, on the other hand, is known to possess impressive punching power. While his devastating blows have come wearing 4 oz. gloves in UFC fights, the 10 oz. gloves he’ll wear against Mayweather won’t do much to slow down the speed of his punches or diminish their power. The question is can McGregor land a clean shot on the chin of the best modern defensive boxer who has never legitimately been knocked to the canvas as a pro?
“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,” UFC president Dana White said back at the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.”
And maybe play some mind games. It’s widely expected that McGregor will be the aggressor while Mayweather will be content to play defense and pick his spots. What if McGregor played it cool and conservative the way, according to Atlas, he’s won matches in the UFC, making Floyd come at him?
“Use those principles of trying to be careful and thoughtful and contemplative before you just walk into something then Floyd doesn’t have the foil that he needs,” says Atlas. “[Floyd] needs that caveman so he can bang, bang, bang, catch him coming in and catch him with counters.”
The bottom line is McGregor doesn’t have an easy path to victory and deep down he has to know that. But it’s not inconceivable if the right things happened that he could pull off the improbable upset. It’s boxing. It’s sports. Crazier things have happened than a 4-1 dog getting the w.
Malignaggi said that he has actually sparred with McGregor twice now. And according to him, McGregor improved quite a bit between the first sparring session he had with him and the second one.
“I think the intensity Conor’s reaching is starting to show in the hard work he’s putting into camp,” Malignaggi said. “I think he’s getting better and better. I really felt improvements from two weeks ago to now…I do see a guy who is implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan.”
But Malignaggi also said that, during a sparring session on Tuesday that saw the fighters go at it for 12 rounds, things got chippy between the two. He felt like McGregor’s camp ambushed him by making him fight for so long on relatively short notice.
“Lot of violence,” Malignaggi said. “I went in there to prove a point. I didn’t like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 [rounds] on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a setup. Usually, all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and [former UFC owner Lorenzo] Fertitta is there. Dana White is there. So I’m thinking these guys are thinking they’ll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn’t like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder.”
Malignaggi said that he and McGregor have a “mutual respect” for one another right now. But he also suggested that there’s been no love lost between the two when they have gone to battle.
“I don’t think we’re going to be best friends anytime soon,” he said, “but there was a lot more mutual respect after that kind of work [Tuesday] night. It was a lot more intense than the first one.”
In addition to speaking with ESPN, Malignaggi did a video interview with TMZ Sports and showed off some of the marks on his face from his sparring session with McGregor. He stopped short of saying that McGregor has overwhelming power in the ring, but he did give him credit for packing some pop in his punch.
“Conor doesn't have bad power,” he said. “It's not 'Oh my god' power…but it is respectable power.”
The Mayweather/McGregor fight might not ultimately live up to all of the hype surrounding it. But it sure sounds like Malignaggi and McGregor are giving those watching their sparring sessions a real treat.
In the final stop on their four-city press tour, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather visited the SSE Arena at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The event had everything from verbal jabs to anti-gay slurs to one fan who snuck into the venue with a fake credential.
In a video posted on Saturday, a guy who goes by Zac Alsop on YouTube detailed how he managed to create a fake credential, weave his way around security, and wind up right next to McGregor minutes before making his entrance. After finding a photo of the promoter credential on Instagram, Alsop went to work on constructing an identical copy, down to the lamination.
With a suit on and the fake credentials around his neck, Alsop was able to sneak by security by sticking close to Mayweather's crew as they entered the arena. This incredibly brave and partially crazy guy had a couple close calls, including a run-in with UFC president Dana White on two separate occasions.
Even though Alsop avoided any problems getting into SSE Arena, it did not mean he was in the clear. At one point, Alsop needed to remain calm as he pretended to be with Mayweather's photographers as they walked between some security flanked on either side of a narrow hallway.
The journey was intense, but it was probably all worth it when he ended up standing alongside McGregor. Check out his heroic trek, and whatever you do, do not try this in your hometown. Leave it to…the professionals?
But despite his erratic behavior during the tour, UFC president Dana White expects McGregor to be on his best behavior on Aug. 26 when the fight goes down. We’re sure McGregor will still put on a show before—and potentially after—the fight. But once the fight starts, White doesn’t expect McGregor to go crazy in the ring and brutally attack Mayweather with a bunch of MMA moves or anything. That’s because, according to White, there’s a clause in McGregor’s contract that could cause him to lose a lot of money if he decides to use a single MMA tactic on Mayweather.
“He would get sued beyond belief if he does anything but hit Floyd Mayweather with his hands to the head and body,” White said on Thursday, according to USA Today Sports. “It would be very bad. That can’t happen. That can’t happen. There’s actually language in the contract that that can’t happen.”
“Forget about the contract,” White said. “[Mayweather] would just sue [McGregor]. And it would destroy Conor’s life because Mayweather would win…Conor is a bit of a wild man. But he likes money as much as Floyd does. If he wants Floyd to have all his money, that’s the way to do it.”
Given all the animosity and tension that will be present when Mayweather and McGregor fight, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see McGregor get overly emotional. But after hearing what White had to say about the ramifications of him flipping out, we wouldn’t expect to see him lose his mind and attack Mayweather at any point.
Considering how over the top and utterly ridiculous everything surrounding Mayweather-McGregor has been so far, it was only fitting that Conor McGregor arrived at Barclays Center Thursday—a hot, humid, and generally disgusting day—rocking a Gucci fur coat and no shirt.
Because nothing surrounding what’s shaping up to be the biggest and most lucrative boxing match in history has been by the book or will be the by the book, and the two biggest shit talkers in modern sports spent another night in another city mouthing off and talking tough all in the name of promoting their Aug. 26 mega-fight.
Tuesday it was Los Angeles. Wednesday it was Toronto. Thursday it was Brooklyn where McGregor and Floyd Mayweather were back on their bullshit. McGregor was the first to arrive and didn’t waste any time mocking Mayweather, flaming his pal 50 Cent, and saying more problematic (racial) things that rubbed some people the wrong way. Mayweather countered by calling McGregor a “bitch” and a “stripper” then making it rain on stage. It got heated. They got in each other’s faces. And their respective squads almost tussled on stage.
“Today I was about to smack him up there but we’ll keep it professional for now,” McGregor said after the show had ended. “But it’s a hell of a lot of fun. How could you get tired of this?”
Based on the crowds the tour has drawn and the coverage they have received it seems like the appetite for all things Mayweather-McGregor is far from being satisfied. What many dismissed as a farce when it was first rumored is turning into the most talked-about event in sports these days and the 13,165 that packed into Barclays—many in favor of McGregor—further proved that this is shaping up to be something way bigger, way hotter, way more ridiculous than any coat the Irish MMA superstar could ever rock.
But will it be a legit fight? Oddsmakers in Vegas don’t give McGregor much of a shot nor do boxing purists. And that’s just fine with McGregor, who just four years ago was on food stamps. Sitting in front of mostly boxing writers last night, he laid out how and why he would beat Mayweather in rather convincing terms. Brimming with championship charisma, McGregor said his sparring sessions—despite what you may have seen on social media—have been intense and that boxing’s three-minute rounds will be easy considering he’s used to UFC’s five-minute rounds.
“I’ll be ready for 12,” McGregor said. “But he’s going down in four.”
It’s easy to dismiss McGregor’s chances. He’s going up against a legend who’s 49-0 professionally and has made a fortune dodging punches and pummeling inferior opponents. Mayweather’s been schooled in the sweet science for decades while McGregor will have to suppress his natural instinct to attack Mayweather with an elbow or a kick that would be financially devastating. Will McGregor be able to land a crippling blow? And we all know there’s no way he can out-point Mayweather over 12 rounds.
Yet when faced with that scenario, and still wearing designer sunglasses well after 10 pm, McGregor flashed a championship smile. He may be a massive underdog but the reasons he can pull off the upset are many. For starters he’s got 12 years on Mayweather. He’s bigger. He’s stronger. He’s got the longer reach. He’s going to wear down Mayweather when they’re tied up, zapping him of energy. And he possesses the kind of power with his punches that Mayweather wishes he had. McGregor just doesn’t have anywhere near the experience Mayweather has.
“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,“ UFC president Dana White said. “Somewhere in a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, the bigger, younger, stronger guy needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and needs to hurt him.”
But can he even land a clean punch on the Pretty Boy, who has been shoulder rolling his way to millions of dollars in prize money and championships since he turned pro in 1996? When Mayweather fights, he rarely gets touched. And while he’s not nearly as fast as he was during his prime, will McGregor be able to defend his quick combos and put up enough of a fight in the judge’s eyes to make it close in the championship rounds? Probably not. We’ve been on record before saying that Mayweather would demolish McGregor in a boxing match and that hasn’t changed. But listening to McGregor talk will make you, for the briefest of moments, think twice.
“His belief in himself is nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” White said.
Regardless of what happens, if enough people buy the $99.95 pay-per-view event, neither McGregor or Mayweather are going to give a shit what happens since neither appears to have any appetite for a (boxing) rematch. Both will make a stupid amount of money off of this. Estimates are McGregor could easily earn over $100 million while Mayweather will reap way, way more than the $200 million-plus he earned in his fight with Manny Pacquiao back in 2015.
“They’re going to talk about this business move at Harvard,” Mayweather said.
And based on how rabid the atmosphere has been at the press conferences and how much coverage the first three stops have received—the tour ends Friday in London—there’s no reason to believe Mayweather-McGregor won’t break the Mayweather-Pacquiao box-office record.
The only question is, unlike Mayweather-Pacquiao, will we get a good fight? And does McGregor actually have a shot at defeating Mayweather?
The answer to the latter is yes. He has a shot. Every fighter has a shot. But the chances are oh so slim. As for the answer to the former, that’s the only thing that really matters if you’re actually going to drop a Benjamin on the summer’s biggest spectacle.
For more than a year now we've heard the rumor that Conor McGregor will cross over from MMA into boxing in order to make a boatload of money in a fight against Floyd Mayweather. While that initially sounded absurd to almost everyone, months went by and it seemed more and more plausible.
And, as for McGregor, he beat Mayweather by a few minutes, with a joke that he probably had planned for months—he poked fun at Mayweather's age by “accidentally” using a photo of Floyd's 64-year-old father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., instead of the fighter:
Terms of the deal that were apparently agreed to are not yet available, but White toldTMZ Sports that he “expects” McGregor to make “around $100 million.”
On Wednesday, (or Tuesday night, depending on your source) the Nevada Athletic Commission approved a Mayweather Promotionsrequest to be put on an Aug. 26 boxing card at the MGM Grand. However, as MMA Fighting noted, neither Mayweather nor McGregor currently have a license to box in Nevada. That process can be changed in less than a week.
TMZ Sports recently provided some additional details regarding their upcoming fight. The 12-round bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with both guys wearing 10 ounce gloves. Mayweather Promotions will take care of determining the undercard, which will also consist of boxing matches. When asked to address the speculation that one of the fights on the undercard could be Roy Jones Jr. versus Anderson Silva, Dana said, “I highly doubt it.” The two will be tested by USADA for any performance-enhancing drugs.
Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier are not who you would call the best of friends. The two fighters have been feuding inside and outside of the octagon for years, with the two light heavyweights trading verbal jabs about the ownership of UFC's light heavyweight title belt.
Thanks to a host of personal problems ranging from legal woes to drug violations, Jones has been forced to cede opportunities to Cormier, who is the current champion for their division despite never having beaten Jones. But a rematch of the two fighters has been scheduled for July 29 at UFC 214, and the two are back butting heads accordingly.
After their fight was announced at the UFC's Summer Kickoff press conference, Cormier expressed skepticism at Jones being able to keep his act together long enough to step in the ring with him. Jones was happy to acknowledge his indiscretions, but he made it clear he feels Cormier is a paper champion:
CORMIER: So, I’m sitting here, and I see him. Like, I see him. He’s over there. But is he really going to be in Anaheim? Is this guy really going to go to the fight? Is this guy going to mess this up again by doing steroids or snorting cocaine or sandblasting prostitutes? What’s this guy going to do to mess this up this time?
JONES: Prostitutes? I beat you after a weekend of cocaine.
You can catch the full video of the presser up top—the quoted exchange begins around 4:26 in—and see Jones is unfazed by the tough talk coming from Cormier. Jones' fall from grace has been disappointing for such a dominant fighter, but he has a point, because while Cormier is the current champion of the division, he lost in a unanimous decision to Jones when they last fought at UFC 182. The current champion was only able to take the vacant title belt after Jones had his title stripped due to a hit-and-run incident in 2015.
Multiple attempts at a rematch have been aborted over the last couple years, once due to a foot injury for Cormier and once thanks to Jones being suspended for USADA violations. Each man sees the other as unworthy of the crown, either due to availability or fighting ability, and the bad blood will continue to simmer until they finally stand toe-to-toe for a second time. By the looks of things, they don't really want to wait until the scheduled fight:
Regardless of whose side you fall on here, the rematch remains one of the most anticipated fights in the sport. If UFC and Dana White can just manage to get both guys in the ring—and staying clean, of course—the fans will get to watch two big-time fighters who genuinely don't like each other. This sort of background can entice even the most casual of fight fans to tune in.
For months, the last two fighters who know how to sell fights have been in the media on some on-again, off-again nonsense regarding their long-rumored bout, with Floyd saying back in March that he'll be coming out of retirement “just to fight Conor McGregor.” This was a few weeks after UFC president Dana White said they are “nowhere” when it came to the talks between the two, although later in the month he suddenly thought the fight would be a go.
Trust me, I understand that you have to build these megafights, but dogs…get that sh*t together.
Anyway, the latest news on the fight to end all fights is that, according to White, McGregor could be getting a grip of money to take part in the match. Mayweather has previously said that he'd come out of retirement for no less than $100 million, and White's thinking that Conor would end up taking home $75 million for a bout with Mayweather. At least, that's what he told The Herd with Colin Cowherd when asked about his projections for the fight.
“It depends on how much the fight sells,” White said. “If the fight sells as well as I think it can, Floyd makes a little north of 100 and Conor makes 75.”
Then again, that's all based on this fight actually happening. “At the end of the day, does this fight make a ton of sense for me? It really doesn’t,” White told Cowherd, “but you know, Conor wants this thing really bad, and I’ve said it many times, this kid has stepped up and saved some big fights for me, man. So I’m in, I’ll figure it out.”
Last weekend, Conor McGregor predicted that he will “stop Floyd Mayweather” and “take over boxing” if he ever gets the opportunity to take on the undefeated fighter. But at least one boxing legend thinks McGregor stands absolutely no chance of beating Mayweather in the boxing ring.
“In boxing? One round,” he said. “In boxing, Mayweather. In boxing. If he kicks him?”
That was as far as Leonard’s prediction went, but he insinuated that the only way McGregor would win is if he resorts to his MMA techniques, which would obviously not fly in the boxing ring.
Leonard isn’t the first person to make a prediction like this for the fight. When the Mayweather/McGregor rumors first started popping off, just about everyone laughed at the idea of McGregor lasting for more than a minute or two in the ring with Mayweather. But now that we’re getting closer to this fight actually happening—Leonard did say that he expects it to take place—there seem to be some people thinking twice about picking against McGregor. But that’s not a smart move if you trust the opinion of one of the best boxers of all time.