Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. are set to square off in a boxing match that may well shape up to be the main event of the millennium. The bout, which has fight fans around the world buzzing, will take place on August 26, 2017, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be available to watch on Pay Per View.
McGregor, whose fighter name is “Notorious,” is known for his meteoric rise in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), capturing titles in two different weight classes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sports premier fight promotion. He has served as champion in the UFC’s Lightweight (155 lbs.) and Featherweight (145 lbs.) divisions.
Mayweather, Jr., who fights under the name “Money,” is a legend in the boxing ring, sporting a perfect 49-0 record — including 26 wins by way of knockout — and has held multiple world titles in his career. His championships come from all four of the boxing world’s major sanctioning bodies — the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) — with 11 titles total.
Here is what you need to know:
1. The Fight Has Been in the Works for a Couple of Years, With Lots of Trash Talk
Perhaps the first time the idea of this fight was tossed around was in an off-the-cuff remark McGregor made during an interview with Esquire back in April 2005. The brash Irishman, known for having a sharp tongue as devastating as his left hand, was sounding off on the need for having a multi-faceted approach to combat sports.
“I don’t look at a man who’s expert in one area as a specialist, I look at him as a rookie in ten other areas. If you can box, what happens if I grab hold of your legs? If you put me face-to-face with Floyd Mayweather—pound-for-pound boxing’s best—if I fought Floyd, I would kill him in less than thirty seconds. It would take me less than thirty seconds to wrap around him like a boa constrictor and strangle him.”
What started as an example of sorts became an intriguing idea, as super fights have been popular in the past. But most fight fans felt Mayweather Jr. would be unlikely to step into the Octagon. However, McGregor, given his roots in boxing, was open to stepping out of the UFC’s trademarked fighting structure, as he told BT Sports.
“In a boxing match? I’m open to discussion. Come at me. But I hold the key. It is me who holds the key to the fight game. I am open-minded. I am open to discussion.”
As rumors of the fight loomed, the back-and-forth continued.
2. McGregor Hasn’t Fought Since Capturing the UFC Lightweight Title
McGregor fought Nate Diaz twice, once at 170 and again at 155 lbs., respectively, following his KO of Jose Aldo. He then challenged Alvarez and won the UFC Lightweight Championship. As a result of his inactivity at 145 lbs. — he had not fought in the division since winning the championship — the UFC stripped McGregor of the featherweight title in November 2016, although UFC President Dana White doesn’t like the word “stripped.”
“Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again,” White told Yahoo! Sports in December. “Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were [angry],” he added.
Immediately after defeating Alvarez for the lightweight title, McGregor announced that he’d be taking some time off from fighting. He and his longtime girlfriend Dee Devlin were expecting their first child at the time — Conor Jr. was born on May 5, 2017 — and McGregor wanted to spend some time with his family.
You can see McGregor’s baby announcement in the video below.
3. Mayweather Jr. Is Coming Out of Retirement for the Fight
The August 26 showdown will come nearly two years since Mayweather Jr. last fought. “Money” retired following his September 12, 2015, bout against Andre Berto and has spent the past two years focused on other ventures, including his brand, The Money Team, and opening a “gentlemen’s club” in Las Vegas called Girl Collection.
This won’t be the first time Mayweather Jr. returns to the ring after a two-year retirement. He left boxing previously after his July 2007 fight against Ricky Hatton and chose to focus on his company, Mayweather Promotions. He next fought Juan Manuel Marquez in September 2009.
Mayweather Jr. announced in March 2017 that he would only come out of retirement to fight McGregor.
“Today, I’m officially out of retirement for Conor McGregor. We don’t need to waste no time. We need to make this s**t happen quickly,” he said on a tour stop.
4. It’s McGregor’s First Professional Boxing MatchDespite his monumental success in combat sports, the bout with Mayweather Jr. will be McGregor’s first foray into the realm of professional boxing. However, it won’t be his first time in the ring. While “Notorious” may have made his money in MMA, the first fighting gym he stepped into was the Crumlin Boxing Club in Dublin. It was there, according to The Boxing News, that a 12-year-old McGregor met Olympic pugilist Phil Sutliffe, his first trainer.
Back in 2014, McGregor’s father, Tony, spoke to Severe MMA about his son’s evolving fighting prowess.
“I saw him box loads of times, but I think it was a natural progression for him to move on to mixed martial arts in the end even though he had been an All Ireland boxing champion as a kid.”
According to Sutliffe, McGregor began his MMA training at an age when most American children are learning how to drive.
“He started doing grappling and wrestling and mixed martial arts, a lot of kids took to it. I wouldn’t say it’s as tough as boxing, it’s more animalistic when you’re on the ground. He started moving towards it when he was 15 or 16 and he was telling me he couldn’t come to the gym on certain nights because he was doing grappling or wrestling, I wasn’t very impressed because I didn’t like the sport. I thought it was very barbaric, when you’re allowed to hit someone on the ground with your elbows and your knees like a street fight.”
5. McGregor Will Earn $75 Million For the Fight While Mayweather Jr. Is Set to Make $100 Million
Another thing Mayweather Jr. has said about coming out of retirement is that he would only do it for another nine-figure payday. This bout, being referred to as “The Money Fight,” is expected to provide exactly that. But the fight world will never know the exact terms.
“The 40-year-old Mayweather is expected to earn more than $100 million for a single fight for the second time in two years when he meets McGregor in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match August 26 in Las Vegas. Exactly how much Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) and McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs in MMA) will make for McGregor’s boxing baptism might never be divulged, though. Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive officer for Mayweather Promotions, and UFC president Dana White wouldn’t discuss financial details during a conference call Wednesday night,” the Boxing Scene reports.
“We have a confidentiality clause in place,” Ellerbe said, “and the financial details will not be disclosed.”
While the official fight purses will be made available at the fight’s official weigh-in —they’re not public record — per the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they’re unlikely to accurately reflect how much money each fighter is guaranteed in the deal.