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Two More Views of Mayweather in MMA

This provides an illuminating compare and contrast. First we've got Cage Potato with a cynical take on the story:

Back in April, Mayweather made some very disparaging remarks about mixed martial arts, claiming that any MMA champion would get beaten by a moderately skilled boxer. Dana White immediately offered him a fight against Sean Sherk, which Mayweather pre-emptively turned down, saying "Why would I go into a sport paying hundreds of thousands when I'm in a sport paying $20 million?"

Right, so since April, which of the following do you think occurred: 1) Mayweather gained a deeper understanding of and respect for MMA, and decided that maybe he'd try his hand at the sport after all, or 2) Mayweather, with the help of Mark Cuban, realized that there's money to be made with this MMA shit.

Related question: Do you think that in the last two weeks, Mayweather did a total 180 and decided that he would fight again, and that he would hold off on the fight-promoting so he could learn jiu-jitsu?

If you answered, "He follows the money," you're right. See, the newsworthy quote from the article is "he is getting involved with MMA and HDNet Fights one way or another," not the part about him looking at MMA training to see if it's up his alley. That's just the con-line to hook your attention. Maybe it'll be as simple as him throwing some money at HDNet Fights, but Floyd Mayweather is looking at MMA as an investment opportunity, not as a new avenue of competition. It's shocking how many MMA news sites are picking up this story as "Mayweather may fight MMA!", like it's a legitimate rumor, when the real (just as interesting) story is staring them in the face. It's called critical reading, you rubes. In fact, the biggest tip-off is that bit about how Mayweather would take an MMA fight for $30 million. That's not a negotiation -- it's an alibi. No MMA organization is going to pay Mayweather that much scratch to show up, and he knows it. Mark Cuban is the only guy who has enough cash on hand to make it happen, and he's smart enough not to do it.

Look for Mayweather to visit Xtreme Couture, get some photos taken, announce that he doesn't have the time to seriously commit to training as an MMA fighter ("But I'll tell you, man, those guys are a lot more talented than I thought, they get all my respect"), and then announce that he's taken some sort of promotional role with HDNet Fights. He'll sink some money into building the brand, organize some superfights, and show up at events to hype up the crowd. But trust me, the dude isn't even thinking about backing up the big words he had in April. So, to all the fight fans who, even for a moment, thought that an epic 145-pound battle between "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather and Urijah "The California Kid" Faber was just around the corner, all I can say is good luck; I'd imagine that life hasn't been easy for you and I fear that it will only get worse.

If that sounds a lot like Fightlinker's take on the story it's probably because...well the whole CagePotato site sounds like Fightlinker. Keep seeking your own style guys, you've got some good posts but there can be only one.

And on the other hand, we've got a more thoughtful and insightful take from MMA Payout's Adam Swift:

The odds of Mayweather actually entering the cage in near future seem slim to none, not with another $25 million dollar boxing bout on the table against undefeated Miguel Cotto, however after that bout who knows what the future might hold? If MMA keeps growing and boxing is unable to offer a steady supply of marketable challengers for Mayweather, it is not altogether inconceivable that the money offered by MMA will indeed eventually make sense.

It's hard to overstate the magnitude of a potential Mayweather crossover. Properly promoted, Mayweather's MMA debut would have the potential to become the most watched pay-per-view not only in the history of MMA, but pay-per-view in general. The event would also have the ability to single handily break the UFC's stranglehold on the industry, launching not only Cuban's HDNet Fights, but an entirely new promotional model more closely resembling the boxing industry.

Of course, we're a long way from such an event becoming a reality, let alone a historic success. For starters, outside of basically risking his career and much of his legacy, Mayweather is accustomed to $20 million payouts, which Kevin Iole points out is slightly more than the payouts of the last three UFC pay-per-view events combined. However, it is not hard to envision a scenario under which a Mayweather fight would make financial sense, outside of the invaluable mainstream publicity such an event would garner. The UFC grossed roughly $20 million on pay-per-view for its biggest event to date, last December's UFC 66: Liddell v. Ortiz at approximately 1,000,000 buys and a $40 price point.

On the pro side of the equation for boxing's best fighter, as Iole points out, even one hand picked win would give Mayweather a foothold in the MMA industry and a platform from which to launch his own promotional efforts. Setting aside the media's rampant cynicism for a moment, it is also at least conceivable that Mayweather is truly interested in a new challenge after dominating boxing for the better part of two decades. A successful crossover to MMA would establish Mayweather as something more than just a tremendous boxer, perhaps the best of his generation, but as a legendary fighter at the vanguard of the fight sport revolution, that may or may not be taking place at present.

That kind of transcendent legacy is something that would likely interest the brash superstar--if the money is right.

Very astute analysis from Swift, as we've come to expect. He's echoing some of the points I made the other day, just making them better.

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