By Marc Livitz: Call it whatever you like. Proclaim that it’s nonsense or that its potential damage to either boxing or mixed martial arts is bound to be irreparable.
Regardless, the incredible amount of buzz as well as curiosity which surrounds next weekend’s matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor cannot be denied. The bottom line, however may indeed be the fact that although it cannot be denied, the evening’s festivities will most certainly be quantified. Although according to various sources, blocks of tickets for the event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas are still available, the revenue lies in the fact that thousands of households will purchase the pay TV broadcast at $100 apiece.
Local cinemas will collect $40 per ticket to watch the contest on a big screen. Ballrooms in Vegas will throw lavish parties complete with food and drink for those who choose not to buy a seat in the arena. Much like the hysteria that surrounded Mayweather’s long awaited clash with Manny Pacquiao two years ago, many fans simply want to be there to "soak it all in". Despite the excitement and fervor, most boxing experts, if there is such a thing feel that whomever drops the cash on the contest will ultimately, financially speaking, take a bath.
However, no one can say this to current UFC lightweight champion, "Notorious" Conor McGregor. The 29 year old Irishman is no stranger to high profile bouts in Las Vegas and his record in the octagon stands at 21 wins (18 KO’s) and three losses. He’ll step into Mayweather’s world on August 26 as a fresh faced newcomer. Zero fights in the boxing game. As he winds down his training camp, McGregor took time out on Wednesday afternoon to talk to the media.
Selected Highlights Listed Below
McGregor on the NSAC’s decision to allow 8 oz. gloves to be used: "I am very happy with how the Nevada State Athletic Commission handled it . The overall approach to the decision was great. I think they were very great throughout. I’m very happy with it."
On wearing bigger gloves than in an MMA bout: "There’s pro’s and con’s on both sides. You have each athlete and their requests. Look what I normally fight with - 4 ounce, fingerless gloves. It benefits both of us in some ways. We’re still in discussion with what brand of gloves I’ll be wearing."
Conor on his public perception: "What you see with me is what you get, on or off the camera. I portray myself as who I am. There’s been many things written and that’s okay. I am who I am. I speak the truth in what I believe and people can say anything they want."
On Training for Boxing and not MMA: "We’ve adjusted my cardiovascular preparation. Endurance wise, we’ve stretched it out. It’s actually nice to go from five, five minute rounds to up to twelve, three minute rounds. It’s a different type of training. We’ve made some adjustments and I feel amazing."
"We’re more than prepared. After I suffered my first defeat in MMA against Nate Diaz, we changed my cardiovascular program. It’s the "McGregor Fast" program. I’ve done two fights with it since then and this will be the third."
McGregor on disrespect and race issues being played: "All you have to do is look at everything. It’s give and take here. Look at every boxing analyst. It’s as though I’ve been discarded and not welcome. I was upset that Floyd tried to bring this in. I don’t condone "black versus white" because this is athlete versus athlete. This is two prime athletes. I just like to stay focused on my craft and put on a great event for the fans who are supporting this fight as a whole."
"It certainly motivates me. That’s a disregard for my skill set. Some people are so close minded, as if there’s just one way and no other way. You must have respect for other disciplines. Fighting is about timing and there’s a time and place for every single move. At the same time, I understand it. I look forward to educating the world on what martial arts is."
On a rematch with Mayweather in UFC: "If he stepped into the octagon, then he’d have my respect. Anyone that does that deserves respect at any level and in any combat sport. We’ll see but right now, I’m focused on August 26. Who knows? After he gets his ass whipped, he can challenge me for my lightweight belt in UFC."
Conor’s Preparations and Readiness: "There’s no way in Hell that I’m not prepared to go into the deepest trenches in this fight. I don’t think that with these 8oz gloves he even makes it out of the second round. I don’t see him absorbing the blows. We’re ready to go war for the full twelve rounds or take him out in the first ten seconds."
On Floyd’s Unbeaten Record: "I don’t care about his record. Everything is a fight by fight basis."
On Robert Byrd being chosen as referee: "We didn’t ask for anyone particular. We maybe looked for someone who had a link to MMA bouts. Robert Byrd is a fantastic referee. His wife, Adelaide is involved in mixed martial arts."
McGregor’s Thoughts on a bout with former sparring partner, Paul Malignaggi: "Tell him to shut his mouth and join the queue. There’s a big list of people who want to get in and try to fight me."
On videos that mocked his training methods: "It’s all lighthearted. You must have the ability to disconnect your shoulders and reconnect at the point of impact. It’s the same as a kick. You can’t be tight in the hip flexor. This is just an age old training method. The Gracies, pioneers of MMA started that technique. We’ll educate as the fight goes on. It’s a marathon and not a sprint."
Conor’s Final Thoughts and Plans Afterward: "This is a special, historic event and everyone is excited about it."
"It’s all pointing to record breaking numbers, all across the board. The tickets, the sponsorship. I’m very happy and looking forward to when the contest is all wrapped up. I’ll relax on my yacht and do the counting game. Once all the revenues are turned in, that’s my plan."