Irish MMA star Conor McGregor and decorated pugilist Floyd Mayweather seem destined to meet later this year in a 147-pound boxing match. The 40-year-old Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs), The Ring‘s “Fighter of the Year” in 1998 and 2007, last exited the squared circle in September 2015 after unanimously outscoring former two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto. Prior to the lopsided bout versus Berto, Mayweather adamantly declared that he was retiring as a prizefighter and uninterested in surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark. Unsurprisingly, approximately 18 months later, Mayweather told Fight Hype in March that he was “officially out of retirement for Conor McGregor.”
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs), the first UFC combatant to simultaneously hold belts in two different divisions, obtained a professional boxing license in December to perform in California. Moreover, “The Notorious” is reportedly training to fight Mayweather and UFC President Dana White admitted that the match would likely occur. Although most analysts concur that McGregor is unqualified to compete with Mayweather in a boxing contest, money usually trumps logic. Mayweather banked an unprecedented $220 million to outclass Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. A scrap pitting Mayweather versus McGregor will be even more lucrative than the Pacquiao affair, with many insiders predicting that this spectacle will generate in excess of half a billion dollars.
While Mayweather against McGregor may be a glorified freak show, the event will be a memorable one. Still, before any fists are thrown, there are 15 things that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor probably want you to forget.
16 MAYWEATHER’S NEAR BRAWL WITH RAPPER T.I.
Floyd Mayweather was eating at a Fatburger on the Las Vegas Strip during Memorial Day weekend in 2014. While dining, rapper T.I. approached Mayweather and began to verbally berate the legendary boxer. Shortly after exchanging words, T.I. threw a hopeless punch at Mayweather that strictly hit the air. Bodyguards for both celebrities quickly intervened and separated the two. However, as T.I. was being dragged away by security, Mayweather yelled, “control your b****.” According to multiple sources, T.I. was infuriated that his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, posted a photo on Instagram of her and Mayweather together at a nightclub. Although Mayweather sounds essentially blameless in this situation, he was involved in yet another violent incident and he displayed his misogynistic nature on tape.
14 COPS PROBE MCGREGOR FOR INSTAGRAM POST
Conor McGregor received harsh backlash in January 2016 when he posted a photo on social media that showed him as a front-seat passenger in a BMW i8 while wearing a balaclava and pointing a submachine gun equipped with silencer out of the car’s window.
"Put the fight game in the bag and step away from the vehicle," McGregor captioned the photo on his @thenotoriousmma Instagram account.
Ireland has extremely strict gun laws and authorities sought McGregor for questioning. McGregor fully cooperated with the island’s fuzz and explained that he was brandishing a pellet gun to prepare for his upcoming role in Vin Diesel’s movie, "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.” McGregor publicly apologized for the incident and never faced any charges. Regardless, this was not one of McGregor’s wisest moments.
13 MAYWEATHER'S DEFENSE OF RAY RICE
Floyd Mayweather, an infamous domestic abuser, publicly defended Ray Rice after TMZ released a video in September 2014 that showed the disgraced running back rendering his fiancée unconscious with a punch and subsequently dragging her out of an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Prior to watching the violence on tape, the NFL suspended Rice for a measly two games. However, the league eventually banned Rice indefinitely and the Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of its three-time Pro Bowler.
"I think there's a lot worse things that go on in other people's households, also," Mayweather said. "It's just not caught on video, if that's safe to say."
Much to Mayweather’s chagrin, NFL general managers have avoided Rice like anthrax and he remains unemployed.
12 MCGREGOR’S SUBMISSION TO NATE DIAZ
Conor McGregor was slated to battle Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 in March 2016. Regrettably for dos Anjos, the Brazilian suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from the card with less than two weeks remaining before the bout. Scrambling for another opponent, UFC officials announced that McGregor would instead fight veteran lightweight Nate Diaz at 170 pounds. An overwhelming favorite, McGregor struggled from nearly the outset and his punches seemed to lack any zip or accuracy. Although McGregor managed to draw blood, the Irishman was visibly winded and Diaz had clearly seized control of the scrap. McGregor sensed urgency and threw a barrage of ineffective punches early in the second. “The Notorious” then attempted to take Diaz to the ground. McGregor’s effort proved to be fateful as Diaz countered and fastened a rear-naked chokehold on his opponent. McGregor, who hadn’t lost a mixed martial arts contest since November 2010, submitted to Diaz at 4:12 of the decisive round.
11 MAYWEATHER’S HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Floyd Mayweather has a disturbing history of misogyny and he is a serial batterer of women. According to a July 2014 article published by Daniel Roberts of Deadspin, “Pretty Boy” has been arrested or cited for violence against five females on at least seven occasions. Of these five victims, Mayweather has children with two of them, Melissa Brim and Josie Harris. In December 2011, after reaching a plea bargain to erase a felony battery charge, Mayweather pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense for attacking Harris and was ordered to serve three months in Las Vegas’ Clark County Detention Center. In addition to 87 days behind bars, Mayweather was fined $2,500 and sentenced to complete 100 hours of community service and a 12-month domestic abuse program.
10 MCGREGOR WEARS A POPPY
Conor McGregor wore a poppy on Remembrance Day in October 2015 to honor all soldiers who have died in combat since World War I. Somewhat oddly, the Dublin-born McGregor received several nasty comments on social media questioning why he’d don a poppy considering Ireland’s past conflicts with England. McGregor answered his critics by posting an odd, profanity-laced tirade on Facebook.
“I know where my allegiance lies and what I do for my country,” wrote McGregor.
“I don't need a stupid little flower with a 100 different meanings to tell me if I do or do not represent my country. Check the facts of its original meaning. ALL soldiers. ALL wars. I have the blood of many nations on my gloves. Fought and beat on the world stage. You have a pint in your hand and a Celtic jersey on in your local. F*** you and the Queen.”
Perhaps McGregor should have simply wrote, “Erin Go Bragh.”
9 50 CENT CHALLENGES MAYWEATHER TO READ ‘THE CAT IN THE HAT’
Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent were once close friends. Regrettably, their friendship collapsed when the Queens-born rapper blamed Mayweather for the demise of his boxing company, SMS Promotions, LLC. Over the ensuing couple of years, Mayweather and 50 Cent routinely took turns belittling and mocking each other. Most notoriously, 50 Cent said that he would bet $750,000 that Mayweather couldn’t read a single page of a Harry Potter book. 50 Cent, a retired crack cocaine dealer, lowered the bar a few days later and challenged Mayweather to read Dr. Seuss's “The Cat in the Hat” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“We know you can’t pronounce those words in that Harry Potter book, so we’re going to let you read ‘The Cat in the Hat,'” 50 Cent taunted, while noting that he would donate the three-quarters of a million dollars to charity.
Mayweather, who dropped out of Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before graduating, never actually responded to 50 Cent. Instead, per usual, Mayweather ignored 50 Cent and bragged about how much money he’s pocketed.
8 KURT ANGLE CHALLENGES MCGREGOR
Conor McGregor claimed during an August 2016 interview with Sports Illustrated that, “For the most part, WWE guys are p******.”
Kurt Angle, a WWE Hall of Famer who captured a gold medal as a freestyle wrestler at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, heard about McGregor’s statement and said he’d lambaste the Irishman.
“I’d take him down, then ground and pound him until I knocked him out,” said Angle, 48. “Conor is a polished fighter, but with my size, I would overpower him. It wouldn’t be that difficult for me.”
The 6-foot, 240-pound Angle then challenged McGregor and his boss, UFC President Dana White, to enter the squared circle.
“Take five bumps with me in the ring,” said Angle.
“Just five bumps. When I did that for the first time, I took three and said, ‘F--- this, I’m quitting.’ I quit for a couple days and my manager talked me into going back. I know how Dana White and Conor continue to bash the business, but I challenge either of them to get in the ring with me and take five bumps. Once they do, they’ll realize how tough it is–and that’s not even a fraction of what it takes to be a pro wrestler.”
Although mouthy, cocky and polarizing enough “to be a pro wrestler,” the 5-foot-9, 160-pound McGregor is too tiny to compete in Vince McMahon’s soap opera.
7 MAYWEATHER AND ESPN’s BRIAN KENNY
Boxing commentator Brian Kenny conducted a 13-minute interview with Floyd Mayweather on ESPN's “SportsCenter” a few weeks before his comeback bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez on September 19, 2009. Kenny, who at the time considered Manny Pacquiao to be the sport’s premier pound-for-pounder, continually questioned Mayweather’s decision to face Marquez. Kenny reasoned that Pacquiao had significantly improved as a fighter and was a far worthier, and more fan-friendly, opponent than Marquez.
Mayweather took offense and responded, “I forgot. I’m talking to Brian Kenny, a guy who’s never laced up gloves a day in his life, who don’t know nothing about boxing.”
Mayweather had a notorious reputation for avoiding competitors at their careers’ peak. Citing drug testing protocols and finances as roadblocks, Mayweather refused to meet Pacquiao for nearly a decade. Finally, in January 2015, Mayweather agreed to battle Pacquiao. Predictably, against a diminished version of “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines,” Mayweather unanimously outscored Pacquiao on May 2, 2015.
Brian Kenny knows much more than “nothing about boxing” and he justifiably disputed Mayweather’s choice to evade Pacquiao.
6 MCGREGOR’S HEATED EXCHANGE WITH SERGEY KOVALEV
Conor McGregor and Sergey Kovalev appeared to engage in a heated conversation in the audience during a boxing card on March 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. McGregor attended the St. Patrick's Day scrap to escort Michael Conlan, a native of Northern Ireland, to the ring for his professional debut as a super bantamweight. Shortly after Conlan finished Tim Ibarra via a third round TKO, television cameras caught the 6-foot, 175-pound Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) mere inches away from the flamboyant Irishman’s face. Nicknamed “The Krusher” for his thunderous punching power, Kovalev is a menacing figure whose only loss was a controversial one via points to Andre Ward in November 2016. Kovalev, who has knocked out 81 percent of his opponents and was named the Ring magazine’s 2014 “Fighter of the Year, clearly relayed his point to McGregor. Realizing “The Krusher’s” ferocity, McGregor gently patted Kovalev on the shoulder to quash whatever issue the two had.
5 MAYWEATHER SPRINTS AWAY FROM THE BIG SHOW
Mayweather agreed to “fight” The Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV in March 2008. As part of a storyline to hype their match, Mayweather landed a blistering combination of punches that left the 7-foot, 440-pound wrestler a bloody mess in the squared circle. With a legitimately shattered nose, The Big Show chased the diminutive boxer and his entourage as they bolted through the crowd. Shane McMahon hurried into the audience to restrain The Big Show. Born Paul Donald Wright II, The Big Show told the SunSport in London that the entire incident was scripted and unfolded as planned.
“I told (Mayweather) to do it,” said The Big Show.
“I said, ‘you need to break my nose.’ Don’t shove my nose through the back of my head. But you need to break it. Don’t break your fist or hurt yourself. If you break my nose, we will be able to get people emotionally invested.”
It’s possible that The Big Show is telling the truth and Mayweather didn’t go overboard. Still, the incident remains cloudy and it’s hard to confirm what actually transpired. In relation to the contest itself, Mayweather used brass knuckles to defeat The Big Show at WrestleMania.
4 MCGREGOR RECEIVES SIX-MONTH MEDICAL SUSPENSION
Five and a half months after losing to the Brazilian southpaw, McGregor and Nate Diaz had a rematch at UFC 202 on August 20, 2016. McGregor secured a somewhat controversial majority decision victory over Diaz to even their unexpected rivalry. Still, the Irishman’s win was costly. McGregor fractured his left foot and ankle during his bloodbath with Diaz in Sin City. Accordingly, the Nevada State Athletic Commission gave McGregor a six-month medical suspension a few days following the match. Furthermore, “The Notorious” was banned from training until October and the commission explicitly stated that he couldn’t resume competing until he received medical clearance from an orthopedist.
For such a “superior” martial artist, McGregor certainly endured a couple of beatings from Diaz. McGregor recovered, re-entered the Octagon, and quickly finished Eddie Alvarez with an array of strikes in November 2016.
3 RONDA ROUSEY BASHES MAYWEATHER
Former UFC bantamweight titlist Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey trashed Floyd Mayweather after she defeated him for the Best Fighter prize at ESPN's ''The ESPY Awards'' in July 2015.
In a direct shot at Mayweather’s longstanding background of domestic violence, Rousey said,” I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once.” Rousey, who earned a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, then mocked Mayweather’s claim in 2014 that he’d never heard of the groundbreaking female mixed martial artist.
“I’d like to see you pretend to not know who I am now,” said Rousey.
Although completely unrealistic, fans have long clamored for an organized bout between the 5-foot-6, 135-pound Rousey and the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Mayweather.
According to Rousey, she and Mayweather would never fight unless they “ended up dating.”
2 BROCK LESNAR’S VERBAL DESTRUCTION OF MCGREGOR
Brock Lesnar returned from a 55-month absence from the Octagon to face Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July 2016. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Lesnar, a former defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad, manhandled Hunt to earn a unanimous decision victory. The 39-year-old Lesnar subsequently failed two tests for performance-enhancing drugs and the match’s outcome was overturned to a no contest. Once “The Notorious” heard about Lesnar’s doping plight, McGregor stated, “Fair play to Brock, he got in a fight. But, at the end of the day, he’s juiced up the f****** eyeballs. So, how can I respect that?”
Lesnar, who a 2015 ESPN article referred to as “the most accomplished athlete in professional wrestling history,” verbally maimed McGregor.
"I take s**** bigger than that kid," said Lesnar, a 2000 NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling champion. “I’m 290 f****** pounds, all right? This guy’s 145 pounds and that’s if he’s lucky and gets up and eats his f****** Wheaties. Come here, face to face, Conor, and say it to my face.”
1 THE SHAM THAT IS MAYWEATHER VERSUS MCGREGOR
Floyd Mayweather is a defensive virtuoso, an incredibly accurate puncher, and one of the most accomplished pugilists in history. Conversely, although a striker with thunderous power in the Octagon, the 28-year-old McGregor only received his boxing license in December 2016. It is absurd to predict that a novice can beat a legend. Mayweather will almost certainly unanimously outscore McGregor without absorbing any punishment in the squared circle. However, Father Time is undefeated and Mayweather will be pushing 41 years of age when/if he throws fists with “The Notorious.” The 5-foot-9, 170-pound McGregor is bigger, stronger and younger than the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Mayweather. Plus, Mayweather has somewhat struggled versus southpaws and McGregor possesses immense power in his left hand. Hence, although an utter mismatch, Conor McGregor will absolutely have a puncher’s chance to render Floyd Mayweather unconscious.