Boxing fans, UFC fans, spectacle junkies and curiosity seekers have made this the most lucrative fight in history, with speculation pay-per-view revenue alone could top US$1 billion.
The world has just witnessed Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor in a 10-round boxing match.
The result: Mayweather won with a technical knock-out against a fatigued McGregor struggling with the shift from mixed martial arts to boxing.
But this wasn’t the real result.
The real winners were decided far before the opening bell to start the fight. It was decided when Mayweather and McGregor knew they would earn at least $100 million and $30 million respectively from the fight.
The other winners were the television stations charging per view, the advertisers, the publishers writing continual articles about every different element of the event, the managers, the bars where it seemed everyone went to watch the fight, and basically anyone who could sell something to you in return for your attention on the fight.
The actual fight was a farce, and everyone knows it despite McGregor making it to the tenth round.
Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers in history. His defense reminds people of Willie Pep, the Will o’ the Wisp from the ’40s and ’50s who was apparently so hard to hit that he won a round without throwing a punch.
McGregor, on the other hand, is one of the top mixed martial arts fighters who has never thrown a punch in a professional boxing match.
Sure, there’s punching in mixed martial arts but there is so much more that is irrelevant to boxing, such as knees and elbows, grabs and chokes, scoops and slams.
No one really gave McGregor a chance to win the fight. However, he’s certainly a winner in the world of business.
While McGregor is certain to make $30 million, the rewards are much greater. The whole world knows his name. He’s a global brand. If he continues to manage himself well — and all indications are that McGregor is a savvy businessman — then his earnings will only increase over time.
Mayweather will probably end up taking home more than $350 million including endorsements, pushing his career earnings past $1 billion. He benefited from McGregor’s drawing power and can retire now with his own brand name and earning power increasing in value.
The fight was available in any format you can conceive of. It was available on pay-per-view. You could watch it at a bar. See it at a movie theater. Even order it to your cellphone.
The promotion played on racial divisions, the fear of missing out and rivalries between fans of boxing and mixed martial arts. The hype was incredible.
Here’s how it began: “If you’re asking would I like to fight Floyd – I mean, who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?” McGregor told Conan O’Brien in 2015.
It gained momentum for familiar reasons.
Who’s faster, Superman or the Flash? Who’s got the stronger arm, a pitcher or a quarterback? Who’s scarier, Dracula or the Wolfman?
When you bring in social media with everybody able to voice an opinion, promoters quickly saw how much money could be made. It was all too incredible for anybody to ignore.
Someone making their pro boxing debut got to play off against a world champion. Mayweather came out of retirement (again). McGregor had to be taught the rules.
They took advantage of an opportunity.
The buildup to this fight was to be expected. Non stop insults, none of which brought out the best in humanity.
McGregor said that he didn’t mean anything by saying “dance for me, boy” or that he was “half-black from the belly button down.” But I know what I heard. He was doing anything he could to sell the fight, including pandering to anyone he could to support him (similar to the politicians of today).
Perhaps it could be said that Mayweather did the same thing when he said he was fighting for “all the blacks around the world.”
To be honest, I’m sick of this. I got sick of all this pandering and attention grabbing headings during last year’s presidential campaign. I got sick of it after Charlottesville. And I’m sick of this now.
We live in a time when we ignore what’s real and focus on the drama. Everyone is watching, and we’ll keep on watching while the media sensationalizes these stories.
Mayweather won the fight today. But the real winners were both Mayweather and McGregor and all of the promoters who made money.
Everyone who paid per view, clicked on advertisements buried in stories and bought drinks at the local bar while watching.
All of us were losers today, distracted by a complete farce.