The winner of the Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor superfight on Saturday night won’t get a real title. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be something on the line. Outside of fighting for pride (not to mention millions and millions and millions of dollars), Mayweather and McGregor will also be fighting for what is being called “The Money Belt.”
Even though the so-called Money Belt won’t be tied to an actual World Boxing Council championship, the WBCunveiled the prize that they created for the Mayweather/McGregor fight on Wednesday during a press conference for the bout. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman showed off the belt for the first time at the event in Las Vegas, and it’s every bit as ridiculously over the top as you would expect it to be.
It’s unclear how much the Money Belt is actually worth, but it has a bunch of features that would suggest that it has to be worth a pretty penny. The belt includes 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 300 emeralds, and 1.5 kilograms of 24-karat gold, and all of that is positioned on green Italian alligator leather. It’s actually sort of similar to a belt the WBC created specifically for Mayweather’s fight with Manny Pacquiao back in 2015, but this one manages to top that one in terms of overall gaudiness.
Social media obviously had some strong reactions to the belt. Some people love the fact that the WBC went all out when designing the belt, while others can’t believe how insane the belt is. But the best reactions came from those who compared the Money Belt to another over the top belt—the Million Dollar Championship that was created for WWE star “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase back in the late 1980s.
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
In late July, a report came out indicating that ticket sales for the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegasweren’t exactly going according to plan. Many people expected the fight to sell out rather quickly, but according to the report, there were still thousands of tickets available for it, which seemed to suggest that the promoters for the fight might have issues getting top dollar for them.
But Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe spoke out about the reported slow ticket sales for the fight on Thursday during Mayweather’s open media session at his gym in Las Vegas, and he said that he’s not worried at all. Contrary to what has been reported, Ellerbe said that the fight is currently on pace to break the record for the highest boxing gate ever.
“Right now, we have over $60 million in the box office,” Ellerbe said. “And you tell me, what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds. When you are talking about tickets going from $500 to $10,000, that’s an expensive ticket. So you have every CEO from every major company. You know, guys, it takes time to plan and get it together.”
Ellerbe also talked about some of the VIPs who have expressed interest in attending the fight:
Ellerbe references Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Lebron James and Kobe Bean Bryant as celebs who have requested tickets.
Additionally, Mayweather echoed what Ellerbe told reporters before his workout on Thursday and said that he believes his fight with McGregor is ultimately going to sell out as we move closer to fight night. Mayweather is also doing his part to continue to promote the fight. Here he is interrupting a live shot on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday to tell people to watch the fight:
ESPNis reporting that, if you want a ticket, they’re not difficult to find right now. There are reportedly still thousands of them available on the Ticketmaster website, and there are also plenty of them available through ticket resale sites like Vivid Seats and StubHub. They’re not cheap, though. Vivid Seats, for example, is reporting that the average ticket sold on its site is going for more than $3,600.
To set a new record for a boxing gate, the Mayweather/McGregor fight would need to eclipse the $72.2 million mark. That’s how much money Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao brought in back in May 2015.
Complex's Speedy Morman hit up the Adidas LVL3 event in Las Vegas, Nevada to see how the brand's permeating basketball and hip-hop culture. In between interviews with the likes of Harden, Lillard, and Ingram, Speedy got caught up on the latest in Adidas basketball technology, and saw DJ Esco perform and host a dunk contest. Check out the video above.
A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 8, 2017 at 2:49pm PDT
Drake told the crowd that he asked “19 companies” to construct the copy, and was declined by every single one. Look at those pics again and tell us that's not reasonable. However, his request was finally accepted by a man named Eric Pearce, who owns a company called Las Vegas' Show Group Production Services, which had previously handled production orders from Justin Bieber, Guns N' Roses, and Roger Waters.
According to CBC News, Pearce and his crew had roughly three weeks to assemble the structure and then move it more than 2,000 miles to the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. They were able to do this by first planning on how to construct it in a single weekend, and then by working on it 24 hours per day, seven days a week. “We didn't have time to make any models,” Pearce said. “We simply looked at photographs.” Additionally, members of Drake's team (who themselves were led by production design firm GP-SK Design) gave insights, imagery, and scaled references of the 1,815 foot tall tower.
Pearce, who understandably called the task “very difficult,” says that a replica of that magnitude would traditionally take more than twice as long—six to eight weeks—to complete. As the CBC reports, the final product filled up almost all of the stage, and even included the observation deck's EdgeWalk trolley equipment. Pearce added that the prop was “two or three times the traditional rock and roll star set.”
After it was completed in its factory in Vegas, it was tested, since it likely would've been very bad for business if the set collapsed and killed Drake. It was then packed onto five tractor trailers and driven across the U.S. to Canada. While the cargo was a secret, Pearce also said there really wasn't much time for word to get out.
When the set finally did make it to the stage, it was constructed under the supervision of Pearce's guys, who had been sent from Nevada. Now that the show is over and the replica has served its purpose, it's heading back to Vegas so it can sit in storage. Pearce also didn't divulge how much it costs, or give his two cents on whether or not it was worth it to concoct such a gargantuan pain in the ass model for such a brief usage.
But if you need a big replica of a landmark, and you need it done quickly, you now know who to turn to.
Seems like a practical bit of information to have.
Ask those around boxing if Mayweather-McGregor is good for the sport and they’ll give you different answers.
Some think it’s great. Others think it’s nothing more than a farce that only a sucker would pay $100 on Pay-Per-View to watch.
But the one thing those closely associated with boxing can almost universally agree on is the idea that Conor McGregor, the MMA superstar who will challenge an undefeated Floyd Mayweather Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, has almost no chance of winning.
To them, it’s not a matter of if Mayweather will win, but rather how.
“If [Mayweather] wants to stop it in the first round, he can stop it in the first round,” four-division champion Adrien Broner told us last month.
McGregor is stepping onto Mayweather’s turf and agreeing to box him under very specific terms, so the list of reasons why so many in the sport refuse to give McGregor a realistic shot to hand Mayweather his first professional loss is long. And often extremely specific.
While McGregor and Mayweather circled each other for years before making the fight official in June, McGregor’s only been seriously training as a boxer for a few months. And from what we’ve seen on social media and heard from the mouth of his sparring partner Paulie Malinaggi, the results haven’t been particularly impressive.
The idea that a novice to the sweet science and all its nuances can just step into the ring and take down the legendary Mayweather, considered to be the best modern-day defensive boxer and among the all-time greats, is almost impossible to fathom.
“When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.” — FLOYD MAYWEATHER
“Not an insult, but there are C-class fighters in my business that I know would handle [McGregor] easily,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “This is the lowest level fighter [Floyd’s] probably ever fought. I’m not trying to insult MMA guys or McGregor. I think McGregor’s a genius. But at the end of the day this is not an elite athletic contest that some people want to believe it is.”
It’s the simple things, many point out, that will likely doom McGregor. Jermall Charlo, who awaits his shot at the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight in September, is not the most neutral of observers considering his ties to Mayweather Promotions. But speaking from a strictly analytical perspective, the 28-year-old rising star thinks McGregor’s footwork will cross him up.
““I don’t think technically McGregor stands a chance,” says Charlo, one of boxing's top middleweight contenders. “He's going to trip over his feet more than he’s going to get in shots. He’s going to be all sloppy all over the ring and hopefully he don’t get frustrated to throw an elbow or kick in there and get disqualified.”
Reportedly there are financial reasons outlined in the contract as to why it would be in McGregor’s best interest to not do that. But how much will McGregor, who has been programmed to punch, kick, grapple, and violently force his opponents to submit, be forced to suppress those natural instincts? And how will he adjust to fighting 12 rounds, three minutes at a time? McGregor’s used to fighting fewer rounds and much briefer segments.
“The reason Conor shouldn’t have a chance is he’s not a professional fighter,” says Atlas. “He’s never competed at this realm. He does it in segments, but not for 12 rounds. Mayweather does it for an eternity.”
Those who think McGregor has a chance, or believe he will win, point to the age difference, size difference, and his impressive punching power. But Atlas, having studied McGregor, thinks the x-factor will be the altered persona McGregor carries into the ring.
The first two-division champion in UFC history has, according to Atlas, won by playing it conservatively. The way Mayweather has played defense and expertly waited for his opponents to open themselves up to a counter is the same strategy McGregor has expertly deployed. Against Maywether, he’ll have to be the aggressor.
“McGregor is going to put his fangs out and he’s going to sink them into Floyd. Guess what? He’s not that guy,” says Atlas. “The funny thing is he’s more similar to Floyd than he is to the guy they’re promoting. His mentality is to be careful. I did my homework. His biggest wins are off the counter, being intelligent, being careful, being conservative, being Floyd!”
Whether Mayweather, at age 40, has enough power in his fists to knockout McGregor remains to be seen. Many think Mayweather will simply outlast McGregor over 12 rounds to capture an easy decision. With his 49-0 record on the line and massive expectations riding on him, Mayweather has a lot more to lose than McGregor. But in typical Floyd “Money” Mayweather fashion, he's not particularly worried.
“He can come at me different ways, it’s not going to work,” Mayweather said after the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “When a guy is across from me, you know what he has to say to himself? ‘Damn, I’m fighting Floyd Mayweather.’ When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.”
Paulie Malignaggi claims he didn’t intend to steal the spotlight when he agreed to fly to Las Vegas earlier this week to take part in a sparring session with Conor McGregor. But that’s exactly what the former world champion has done over the last few days.
On Tuesday, a report came out indicating that Malignaggi had been involved in a sparring session with McGregor that got “out of control.” A day later, Malignaggi spoke with several media outlets, including ESPN, and confirmed that report. He also said that he was involved in a second sparring session with McGregor on Tuesday that included “a lot of violence.” And on Thursday night, Malignaggi continued to make headlines when he abruptly announced that he was no longer going to help McGregor in the weeks leading up to his Aug. 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather.
“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on—I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”
Malignaggi isn’t simply upset over all of the media attention he has received this week, though. Rather, he’s upset because a couple photos surfaced on Thursday afternoon that appeared to portray McGregor in a very favorable light during his sparring session with Malignaggi. One of them, captured by UFC photographer Brandon Magnus, shows McGregor hitting Malignaggi in the face:
It’s important to note that McGregor himself didn’t post either of the photos on social media. But Malignaggi is still upset about the fact that they got out. He’s also upset about how they seem to suggest that McGregor knocked him down when he says that, in reality, he ended up on the ground after McGregor pushed him. He has urged McGregor to release a video of their sparring session to show what really happened in the ring:
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 UNEDITEDhttps://t.co/R82BLiMMVm
And since releasing that statement, Malignaggi has stuck to his guns and refused to back down from the allegations he made over the photos in question, even as he has been hounded by McGregor fans online. Malignaggi has responded to many of those fans on Twitter on Friday morning:
Looks like he got caught talking shite and got put on his back 😂
There’s no way McGregor is going to release any video of his sparring session with Malignaggi. Not this close to his fight with Mayweather, at least. So we’ll probably never know the whole truth behind the photos that have Malignaggi so riled up. But in one interaction with a fan on Twitter on Friday morning, Malignaggi said he suspects McGregor’s camp knew all of this controversy was going to take place long before it did:
They all planed that shit before you even knew you gonna be his sparring partner
That may or may not be true. But either way, this dramatic McGregor/Malignaggi storyline is adding even more intrigue to the Mayweather/McGregor fight, and we’d guess that both fighters are thrilled about it.
Prodigy, the legendary hip-hop figure and one half of Mobb Deep, passed away at the age of 42 on June 20. At the time, it was reported that he had died from complications related to his lifelong battle with sickle-cell anemia.
Now we have an official cause of death: accidental choking. Prodigy was indeed hospitalized to receive treatment for sickle-cell anemia, and he died while in the Las Vegas hospital by choking on an egg, as first reported by TMZ.
The Clark County Medical Examiner announced its determination after completing an investigation. The Clark County Coroner’s office confirmed to Complex that “cause of death was choking and the manner was accident.”
Prodigy's sickle-cell had flared up after a performance in the severe West Coast heat of Las Vegas. Prodigy was performing on the Art of Rap Tour with Havoc, Ghostface Killah, KRS-One, Onyx, and Ice-T.
Prodigy and Havoc met in high school in Manhattan and originally chose the name “Poetical Prophets” before shifting to Mobb Deep. Their second album, The Infamous, which dropped in 1995, was their breakthrough.
They released eight studio albums together and are one of the most critically acclaimed groups in hip-hop history.
The Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight has become one of the most highly anticipated sports events of all time. Which makes us wonder: Why aren’t fans rushing to cop tickets?
As pointed out by the Associated Press, there are still a shit-ton of seats available for the Aug. 26 match at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Tickets went on sale nearly a week ago and were expected to go so fast that promoters implemented a registrations process and lottery system to ensure average fans had a fair shot. Five days later, there are still thousands of seats left, which can mean one of two things: either people aren’t that hyped about the fight, or—the more likely explanation—ticket prices are too expensive.
Original prices started at $3,500 and went up to nearly $15,000 for “platinum” seats. As of Saturday, the cheapest resale tickets were listed on Ticket Master for about $1,700, which is still steep considering they’re for the nosebleed section; however, promoters insist they aren’t worried about the slow sales.
“We’re very excited and very happy with ticket sales so far,” promoter Leonard Ellerbet told the AP. “We’re well on our way to smashing our own record which transcended the sport.”
The highest grossing boxing match—billed as “The Fight of the Century”—was 2015's Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, which, according to the AP, grossed about $600 million. Will Mayweather and McGregor be able to top that? Only time will tell.
Maybe fans are just waiting for the prices to drop before they head to the box office. Or maybe they’re content with watching the match on pay-per-view for less than $100.
Outside of doing everything he can to promote his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, LaVar Ball is also the coach for the Big BallersAAU team. And over the course of the last week, LaVar has been getting into it with referees during AAU games left and right.
During a game at the Double Pump Best of Summer Tournament in California last weekend, LaVar argued with a referee over a foul call and, according to USA Today Sports, questioned the referee’s manhood and directed an expletive at him, which basically forced the referee to give him a technical foul. LaVar was so upset about it that he took his team and walked off the court in the middle of the game, even though they were up by 9 points at the time. He later explained that he felt as though the refs “were cheating.”
But it appears as though LaVar was back at it again on Friday during a subsequent Adidas Summer Championships game. During the first half of Big Ballers’ game against Team BBC, LaVar got into it with a female referee who was working the game. She responded by hitting him with a technical, which set him off. He yelled, “We need to get someone else in here,” and he threatened to pull his team off the court if Adidas didn’t comply with his request. And in a somewhat puzzling move, Adidas ended up pulling the ref from the game and replacing her with a different ref.
But the trouble didn’t end there. With a new ref in place, LaVar managed to pick up another technical later in the game, and when he was asked to leave, he wouldn’t go. So the event organizers decided to pull the plug on the contest and award a win to Team BBC since they were leading 53-43 at the time of LaVar’s second outburst.
After the game, the female ref declined to speak with ESPN about what took place during the game. But LaVar was, of course, more than happy to tell his side of the story.
“She’s got a vendetta,” he said. “I get that she’s trying to break into the refereeing thing. But just giving techs and calling fouls, that’s no way to do it. I know what she’s trying to say. 'Oh, I gave LaVar a tech, I’m strong.' That ain’t got nothing to do with it. Just call the game. If you’re going to be qualified, you better be in shape and you better know the game. And she’s bad on both of them. She’s not in shape, she’s not calling the game right. And she don’t understand. And now she’s trying to make a name for herself, so she’s walking around like, 'You know, I’m the only woman in here.' Yeah, we get it. I don’t care if you’re a woman or a man or whatever, just be good at what you do.”
LaVar added: “She needs to stay in her lane because she ain’t ready for this. [Ref] the little kids first and then come up. Because she ain’t did enough. She ain’t got enough on her résumé. I could tell.”
Adidas organizers didn’t explain why they removed the ref from the game and would only say that there was a “miscommunication.” But former NBA ref Ed Rush, who runs the company that supplies refs for the Adidas tournament, argued against LaVar saying the ref in question had a “vendetta” against him. He pointed out that she usually works women’s basketball games and hasn’t refereed enough of LaVar’s games to have a grudge with him.
To be fair, LaVar seemed to have an issue with all of the referees involved in the game, not just the female one. He’s also now had several run-ins with referees in the last week alone. But his comments after Friday’s game aren’t going to sit well with a lot of people, and he’s probably going to have an even bigger target on his back the next time he’s coaching a game.