By Raphael Garcia
Conor McGregor is the biggest star in mixed martial arts. At this point in time, Ronda Rousey doesn’t carry the same cachet as the Irish fighter. McGregor has used this platform in such a way to merit being continually mentioned in the same context as Floyd Mayweather, boxing’s biggest star. After his defeat of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, instead of discussions about potential contenders at lightweight (or featherweight, as this was before he “relinquished” that title), the conversation turned to this fantasy fight. While that matchup grabs headlines, it doesn’t do the sport any favors to talk about a fight that simply isn’t happening. It’s time for mixed martial arts fans, boxing fans, and the mainstream sports media to stop pushing this fight down the throats of everyone else.
“This is the bottom line, and that is that Conor McGregor is under contract with the UFC, period, point blank, and he can’t do anything on his own without the approval of Dana White and the brass at WME-IMG. They’re not going to let him do anything like this. The fact is, they didn’t invest $4.2 billion into that company to have the face of their brand destroyed.”
Big names in mainstream sport coverage like Colin Cowherd aren’t doing MMA fans any favors by continuing to push this false narrative of this fight potentially occurring. Earlier in the year he went as far as telling fans to book flights travel to Las Vegas in September, although the real journalists who cover mixed martial arts balked at the idea. With such a massive platform as his, imagine the positive exposure he could give the sport if he talked about real opponents for McGregor such as Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov – two men that have the talent to become stars but lack McGregor’s promotion and coverage. There are a number of big UFC fights that deserve the treatment that a fake fight is getting; it’s time those men and women reaped the benefits of their work rather than remain overlooked in favor of a fight that will never occur.
Fantasy matchups are fun to discuss. Fans love to debate Superman versus the Incredible Hulk or Hulk Hogan versus John Cena, but the point is that those fights aren’t real. The McGregor vs. Mayweather storyline is great for grabbing headlines and providing fodder for sports talk shows. But mixed martial arts has so much more to offer than a fight that will never happen. It’s time to focus on an opponent for Conor McGregor that can have a direct impact on the sport; Floyd Mayweather isn’t that individual.