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28th Jun 2017

Potentially dire consequences of Conor McGregor beating Floyd Mayweather can’t be ignored

This should never happen again

Ben Kiely

Conor McGregor achieving the impossible on August 26 would be absolutely fantastic… initially.

Everyone is writing off Conor McGregor against Floyd Mayweather. That’s a stance that’s hard to argue against.

McGregor is diving head first into the deep waters with his first dip in the professional boxing pool. He’s taking on an undefeated prizefighter whose vaunted defence has bamboozled the world’s elite. Taking into consideration all that we think we know about fighting, Mayweather should win this bout very convincingly.

If McGregor somehow manages to upset the odds, and that’s a big if, he’s probably not going to do it through traditional boxing techniques that have failed against ‘Money’ in the past.

He just hasn’t had enough time to surpass the skill-sets of the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez or Miguel Cotto. They all dedicated their lives to mastering this specific fistic art and were still outclassed by Mayweather.

In order for McGregor to get his hand raised, he would likely need to find some sort of short-cut to victory. He would need to do something unconventional. He would need to innovate.

The unfortunate consequence of innovation is that once it works, it will inspire a slew of copycats to attempt the unforgiving task of making lightning strike twice using the exact same method. The irrational belief in ‘the Notorious’ is so strong that the apers emerge even before the result of his venture is known.

If McGregor ever stepped off a cliff, it would take hours to uncover his body under all the fallen lemmings who blindly followed in his path.

Even while Mayweather vs McGregor was still in the rumour stage, UFC fighters were calling out world-class professional boxers. These call-outs intensified after the fight was confirmed.

Stipe Miocic (0-0-0) called out undisputed heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua (19-0), Anderson Silva (1-1-0) wanted former four-weight world champion Roy Jones Jr (65-9-0), Jimi Manuwa (0-0-0) was pushing to fight former two-weight world champion David Haye (28-3-0), Cub Swanson (0-0-0) had Paul Malignaggi (36-8-0) in his sights and Wilson Reis (0-0-0) was gunning for Mayweather’s protege, Gervonta Davis (18-0).

If those fights had been booked, the combined records would have been 166-20-0 to 1-1-0 in favour of the boxers. All but one of the UFC stars would have been debuting in the sport, and the last time Silva laced up the heavier gloves in a professional setting was over a decade ago.

Plenty of fighters have made the switch from the cage to ring and returned unscathed. Joseph Duffy told us it took him six months to a year to get up to par in the ‘different game’. He amassed an impressive 7-0 tally before coming back to MMA, but he wasn’t challenging prizefighters. The combined record of everyone he fought inside the ring was 43-92-5.

Even the late, great Kimbo Slice, one of the most famous superstars in MMA history, didn’t fight marquee names during his stint in pro boxing. Like Duffy, he won all seven of his fights, and his adversaries’ records added up to 16-18.

If pro boxing is a genuine aspiration of a mixed martial artist who has little to no ring experience, there is a smart way to ease into the new sport to reduce the risk of getting seriously hurt. Calling out the heavyweight champion of the world straight off the bat is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Contractual barriers and other factors meant that Conor McGregor’s ambitious wish of being matched up against a top boxer was the only one that was granted… for now.

If McGregor finds home with that patented Celtic cross and renders Mayweather unconscious, we shudder to think of what might happen next.

Contracts end, fighters become free agents and that MMA vs boxing dynamic is a very lucrative sell in a world where McGregor has usurped Mayweather’s PPV throne. The thought of promoters fumbling in a greasy till to make a quick buck off the delusional dreams of lambs being lead to the slaughter is downright sickening.

At some point, we as consumers and fans of the sport have the obligation to turn the other way instead of rubbernecking at the carnage.