The UFC is looking to make UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor vs. UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos and UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm vs. Meisha Tate at UFC 197. These are both huge fights, but I’ll start with that first fight because I have some issues with it.
There’s no question that McGregor-dos Anjos is an enormous fight, in large part because of McGregor. Nothing against dos Anjos, but he’s not anywhere near as popular as he should be. He should be one of the most popular fighters on the planet, but so should UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw. It’s unfair, but such is life.
McGregor vs. anyone would be a huge fight. My issue with this booking is that it completely shafts Frankie Edgar. It’s one thing for him to not get the next title shot because former champion Jose Aldo is getting it. I’ve laid out before how I feel that Aldo’s ten year undefeated streak and complete dominance of the division would justify passing over Edgar in favor of an Aldo title shot. However, it’s an entirely different thing to not give either Aldo or Edgar a title shot, and to instead give McGregor crack at the Lightweight Title. This is all about giving McGregor a chance to become a two-division champion. That’s really cool and all, but I can’t help but feel bad for Edgar.
All that said, I’m extremely excited for this fight. McGregor continues to deliver on exactly what he said he was going to do, and dos Anjos has been as impressive as any fighter as he’s completely dismantled Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone in his last three fights. I don’t know who to choose. How can you pick against either of these guys? They’ve both been so impressive that it’s nearly impossible to imagine them losing. I don’t know if I’ll be able to pick, I might just be a fan hoping for a good fight.
The second fight is another big fight, but it also represents an enormous risk by the UFC. The big money fight is Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm 2, so if Holm were to lose, there goes one of the biggest fights in UFC history. I don’t think Holm loses, though, but it’s still a big risk by the UFC. Meisha Tate is a good fighter, but I still think that Holm beats her. It’ll be interesting to see how Holm deals with the constant pressure Tate likes to apply, but I think Holm will handle it well. I think Holm finishes Tate with some precision strikes in an exciting win, thus setting up that huge rematch with Ronda Rousey. It’s a risk, but if it pays off, the rematch with Rousey will be even bigger. In the meantime, we get an awesome card until then. McGregor-dos Anjos and Holm-Tate are huge fights and automatically make the card one of the best of the year. If they add in a few other good fights, they’ll have a really stacked event.
Floyd Mayweather made some comments last week about Conor McGregor that I don’t want to let pass, because of how ill-informed they are. His first comments were that McGregor is celebrated for his trash-talking while Mayweather was vilified for it. Of course, he attributes this to race because the truth is too hard for him to swallow. For one, Mayweather always employed a less than exciting fight style. It was very effective, obviously, but you’re always going to get haters because of that. However, what’s much much much more of the reason why Mayweather was disliked and criticized is his history of domestic violence. The domestic violence and the trash-talking combine to create the criticism. One or the other will earn you some, but together there’s no question that you’ll get bashed.
Of course, race matters to some people and they will criticize someone for the color of their skin. Just as some will criticize based on gender or any identifying characteristics. That happens to everybody. Every single person who has ever lived has had to deal with double standards. Some work for you, some work against you. Every race, gender, age, religious beliefs, etc. does good and bad for you.
The reason I bring this up is because Mayweather playing the race card here is a pathetic attempt to absolve himself of any blame for his past actions. I’m not going to go into Mayweather’s history too much here, but he has plead guilty and he’s a repeat offender. To be blunt, that pisses people off. Mayweather playing the race card here takes away from the real racism that exists in society, and conditions people to tune out those yelling discrimination when they do it all the time, especially when they do it falsely.
I don’t want to get too much on a soapbox here but Mayweather should try to remember that he was directly responsible for a handful of the biggest pay-per-view buyrates of all time so he can’t be disliked that much.
Mayweather also tried to rope Ronda Rousey and Laila Ali into this by complaining that the reason Ali wasn’t as popular as Rousey is because of her skin color. For those who may not know, Ali was a great fighter who retired 24-0. There’s some major differences here, though. Ali retired in 2007, many years ago. There was no big social media presence like you see now, no 24-hour news cycle that constantly needs to be fed, and also the public view of female fighters was quite a bit different back then. Hell, there are still people today who don’t want to watch two women fight, and the mentality was significantly worse ten years ago. Ali should have been more popular, but you can say the same thing about numerous other fighters throughout time. It sucks, but it’s true.
I think Mayweather is just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes with these comments and I think that’s disgusting. I’ve even seen some people saying that if someone else had made these comments, maybe the reaction would be different. Well yeah, if someone who isn’t a convicted abuser had made these comments, I might be more likely to want to listen to them. As it stands, though, I think you have to look at the source of the comments before you pay too much attention to them.
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