On August 26, Floyd Mayweather faces Conor McGregor in a boxing vs. UFC superfight that is all the talk of the sports world right now. So just how big will Mayweather vs. McGregor get? The Bloody Elbow staff tried to predict the PPV buys in this special staff picks.
Anton Tabuena: Mayweather vs Pacquiao, while a little overdue, was a legitimate sporting event that had everyone interested. This on the other hand, is pretty much a spectacle that has people curious and hoping for chaos. I think it will draw well either way, but I just don’t think it shatters the MayPac record. Not many think this will be competitive, and I think a lot of that curiosity from a sizeable amount fans will likely be satisfied with social media highlights (or streams), rather than just straight up paying for what surely will be an incredibly expensive pay-per-view. While it will still surely be massive, that’s why I think that it won’t beat the historical 4.4M figure Pacquiao and Mayweather set. I’m predicting it will end up with less than 4 million buys.
Mookie Alexander: For real, I’m thinking it’ll be in the 4 million buy range if only because people who were suckered into thinking Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was going to be an all-time classic are not going to be silly enough to buy what is essentially a foregone conclusion. It is very possible we see it go over 5 million like Dana White predicted, if only because I’ve been wrong every step of the way as far as Floyd/Conor actually happening, so I might as well not stop now. After all, Mayweather vs. McGregor will feature better promotion in terms of soundbites than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. So yeah, 4 million buys.
Eddie Mercado: This is by far the biggest fight of my generation. It is a true superfight and I will remember where I was the day Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor made history. Also, I have more casual fans ask me about this damn matchup more than any other, so I am 100% confident that the world will be watching. It’s not a real number, but I predict that this PPV will do all of the buys!
Milan Ordoñez: Because of the “freak show” element that would bring in casual fans both from boxing and MMA, I see this fight slightly surpassing MayPac. If that did 4.4 million buys, I say this one does 4.5 million.
Dayne Fox: I don’t have a great interest in seeing the fight. Then again, I didn’t have an interest in seeing Floyd and Manny do the damn thing either and that shattered the PPV buy record. I’ve overheard enough chatter about the contest from people who don’t give a damn about combat sports -- much less casual fans -- that I think it stands a strong chance of establishing a new record. What the hell. I know it’s realistically high, but I’ll say 5 million buys.
Paul Gift: Mayweather-Pacquiao felt like more of a cultural phenomenon while Mayweather-McGregor leans more spectacle. While the fight could combine the audiences of two sports, there's a good chunk in both that may not buy in protest, outcome certainty, whatever. My guess is the lingering disappointment from casual MayPac viewers carries over into MayMac. Their boxing buddies will say it should be a blowout and enough will lose interest for a final total of 3.5 - 3.7 million buys.
Fraser Coffeen: So the night this fight was announced I went to the movies - the people next to me were talking about it. I went to work the next day and my colleagues were talking about. This simply does not happen with boxing fights including, yes, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. There are a lot of fans who will buy anything Conor sells them, and those fans will almost surely be in for this. It’s also got that casual fan base covered thanks to the media push and weirdness factor. And, despite his many flaws, Mayweather still brings a lot of fans to the table himself. There are a lot of people who say they won’t buy because it’s a farce, but frankly, people say that after pretty much every major boxing PPV and it doesn’t happen. We heard the exact same thing after Mayweather vs. Canelo, and then when Mayweather vs. Pacquiao rolled around, they all bought. Floyd’s numbers have indeed been down (as have general boxing PPV numbers), but comparing how Mayweather vs Berto drew vs. this is clearly ridiculous. My original thought was that it beats Floyd/Canelo but doesn’t touch the Pacquiao fight and lands at just north of 3 million. Now, I have to admit, I’m starting to wonder if it topples the record. I’m going with no - but it comes close. 3.9 million
Victor Rodriguez: You’ll have to forgive my cynicism here, but no - I don’t think it meets the lofty expectations most of you guys seem to have for it. Guys, we don’t know what the price point for this is going to be. Mayweather/Pacquiao was $100 a pop for residential purchases. After what happened then, a lot of people are still snakebitten when it comes to the idea of buying another Mayweather card for big money. Besides, who’s to say they won’t charge more? Won’t the UFC put on a PPV of their own that month as well? That might discourage MMA fans from splurging on this event instead of actual MMA, which is what they came for. On the other hand, boxing purists that enjoy actual quality boxing with true ramifications for the sport will wait for Canelo/GGG to spike the piggy bank into the end zone.
If anything, this seems to be of more interest for those that are fans of both sports with money to burn and the casual rubes that are going to get sucked into the novelty shell game that all parties will be promoting. And for all the banter and hype, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this fight will be a classic for the ages. It’s only historic not because it will be competitive or a great fight, but because it is unusual. People are dumb, but a 49-0 guy fighting a dude making his pro debut isn’t something everyone is going to jump into with both feet. Let’s also not overestimate McGregor’s popularity and the general populace’s understanding of his skillset. The real treat here is the banter, buildup and hype that gets put behind it, but less people are going to fall for they okey-doke this time around. Also, let’s remember that we live in the age of the internet. Streaming is king, and will put a dent in this thing. This will sell well, but those that don’t see through this sham will likely be apathetic towards this. My guess is 3 million.
Ram Gilboa: [4,600,000 (Mayweather’s top buys, vs Pacquiao) - 1,400,000 (Pacquiao’s top buys, vs Marquez) - 187,500 (half of Marquez’ top buys, 375,000 vs Bradley)] = 3,012,500
+ 1,650,000 (McGregor’s top buys, vs Diaz. Diaz never headlined a PPV without McGregor) = 4,662,500
- 500,000 (overlapping audience, based on just throwing a number) = 4,162,500
+ 500,000 (even more casuals, curious, bandwagoners, normals. Source as above) = 4,662,500
- 6 (people who say they won’t give in for this money grab circus and won’t) =
4,662,494 buys, but realistically this seems a bit out of reach, so I’m just going to say around 3.6 million.
John Nash: More than UFC 202 but less than Mayweather vs Pacquiao. Let’s take a page from the Price is Right and say 3 million and 1 just to edge out Victor.
Nick Baldwin: There’s a reason I named my podcast “The MMA Circus.” MMA has always been a circus. Now boxing is, too. We’re living amidst a freak show, and it’s called Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. Realistically, if McGregor wasn’t a two-division champ in the UFC and the most popular MMA fighter today, there is no way this fight would be sanctioned by any commission on the planet (besides maybe Texas). 49-0 vs. 0-0. But it is being sanctioned. And I’m willing to embrace the circus.
I honestly think this is going to do astronomical numbers, simply because it will attract a non-MMA/boxing fan audience like no other match before it. The only MMA fighter my mom can name off the top of her head is McGregor. And he’s one of the few MMA fighters the average person can name. Because Mayweather was at the top of boxing for so long, he’s familiar among many people, even non-fans. But the reason Mayweather vs. McGregor is going to do so well is because people who don’t know what they’re talking about are convinced “The Notorious” will take Mayweather’s head off. I’ve had numerous people -- non-MMA/boxing fans -- tell me so already. This is an incredibly intriguing matchup to the average person who knows at least something about McGregor and/or Mayweather -- or at the very least, who they are -- (though it shouldn’t be, of course), so millions of people are going to tune in and shortly thereafter realize McGregor has no hope in hell. How many million? I’ll say 5.
Iain Kidd: 4 BILLION buys.
Stephie Haynes: 4 TRILLION buys.
Zane Simon: 4. Zillion. Buys. Mark it.