Historic. Epic. The fight of the century. The biggest fleece of all time. A freakshow. A superfight. A cross-code money-spinning abomination.
These are just a few of the labels being attached to a boxing match that took place on the weekend between the American Floyd Mayweather Jnr, a convicted criminal guilty of heinous domestic abuse, and an Irishman Conor McGregor, who opted for racist sledging ahead of the match.
Mayweather is an undefeated boxer and McGregor, I’ve read, is a mixed martial artist and star from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Until the weekend, he’d never taken part in a boxing match and his fixture with Mayweather was dubbed a box office hit from the minute it was announced in part because of this.
Analysis of this fight cast it as being a “black versus white” fixture, on account of Mayweather and boxing being traditionally dominated by black athletes, and McGregor and martial arts being predominately white. Against the backdrop of the United States right now, being in midst of racially unrest and division, Exavier Pope, a lawyer, sports analyst and US podcast host says it is chilling:
“This is bigger than a fight, or the legacy of a boxer, or the legacy of MMA as a sport. When you look at the racial environment, now it’s black versus white. In one of the press conferences Conor McGregor told Floyd Mayweather, “dance for me, boy.”
This is a very tumultuous situation, because this is not just an event, this is a fight. You have a president like Donald Trump saying there were bad people on “many sides” in Charlottesville, but what about the side that incited the violence that killed Heather Heyer? The United States is supposed to be leading the world toward racial equality, and instead we’re making international headlines for racial unrest and inequality.
And now we’re watching a fight premised on violence — which includes participation of violence toward women — as well as violence related to race, between whites and blacks. That’s a problem. And because this fight has been premised as such, there is no reason we as Americans should partake in paying for this fight. Because no matter who wins this fight, there will be Americans who say the winner of this fight is the champion of their cause toward the other. We have to have a problem with that.”
Upon reading more about Mayweather and McGregor it’s hard to be inspired by either of these “athletes” and it seems I’m not alone.
When the New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh asked, “Who’s worse?” his answer was simply “They’re both terrible”.
— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) August 24, 2017
ESPN columnist LZ Granderson asked:
“Whom do I want to see win: the convicted domestic abuser with a thing for homophobic slurs or the Irish guy who uses racist barbs to antagonize his black and Latino opponents?”
Between Conor McGregor’s racist barbs & Floyd Mayweather’s homophobic jabs, there’s no one to root for in this fighthttps://t.co/YcWcdqjW9d
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 14, 2017
He concluded neither of these men are worth rooting for. And yet millions rooted for them…with their wallets. It is estimated that between 4-5 million people world-wide paid roughly $100 to view the fight.
Tickets to the match in Las Vegas, held in an arena that holds 20,000 people, averaged $US3,500 but were as high as $US30,000 for ringside seats.
In the 28 minute fight Mayweather earned an estimated $US178,041.54 cents a second, or $US300 million in total.
$US100 million was his just for turning up. The next two hundred million is his because of his cut of the ‘pay per view’ takings. For 28 minutes of “work”.
McGregor walked away, defeated, from his first ever boxing match with a minimum of $US30 million.
The numbers, which exceed the entire GDP for some countries, are eye-watering to consider, and truly tear-jerking to reconcile with the substance of what these men do.
The beat each other up, and specifically try to knock one and another out.
The exact long-term physiological ramifications aren’t known but it is evident that boxers, or anyone who participates in a sport where concussion is a regular occurrence, are at risk of developing brain injuries. Is that really a spectacle people enjoy watching?
Aside from the toll it takes on the men in the ring, which is in itself disturbing, guess what happened after the fight yesterday? Brawls broke out in Sydney and the Gold Coast.
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) August 27, 2017
Heart-warming isn’t it? Millions of people the world over pay to watch men beat each other up, and then can’t resist getting involved in a brawl themselves.
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) August 27, 2017
How much money was made from the Mayweather/ McGregor isn’t known yet but prior to the event there were several estimates it might be upwards of $1billion. That is one billion reasons to cry.