HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 173, plus UFC 211 news and McGregor-Mayweather speculation

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Conor McGregor (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)


Bellator 173 was this past week. Let’s get right to the rundown.

Bellator 173

GOOD – Alex Lohore submits Colin Fletcher: Fletcher rocked Lohore in the first round, but couldn’t get the finish. Lohore made him pay for that in the second round as he got the fight to the ground and locked in the rear-naked choke for the victory. Nice win.

BAD – Iony Razafiarison vs. Sinead Kavanagh: I didn’t care for this fight at all. Razafiarison would get Kavanagh down but not then really do anything. She worked some ground-and-pound, but there was too much inaction there to make up for it. Razafiarison won the decision.

GOOD – James Gallagher submits Kirill Medvedovsky: Gallagher was all over Medvedovsky from the start, before getting the submission win. He then called out A.J. McKee. That’d be a good fight to see.

GOOD – Liam McGeary stops Brett McDermott: This was a short notice fight and they both came to stand and trade. McDermott dropped McGeary early but couldn’t capitalize. McGeary then went to work and proceeded to bloody up McDermott to the point where the cageside doctor stopped the fight because of a big cut on McDermott. This was a nice (though expected) win for McGeary and he’ll fight Linton Vassell next. This was a fairly good card. It had some bad parts and some good parts, but it was generally entertaining.

UFC 211 Women’s Strawweight Title Fight

UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her title against Jessica Andrade at UFC 211. This fight will be the co-main event, along with UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic defending his title against Junior dos Santos. Those two fights alone make this card a must-watch event. The UFC should still try to put some more big fights on this card, though, to make it an even bigger deal. Now, let’s just hope injuries don’t come into play and ruin things like they have a habit of doing…

The McGregor Factor

Dana White has said that UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor’s next fight will be in the UFC and that he’ll defend his title against the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 this Saturday night. That’s the co-main event along with UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley defending his title against Stephen Thompson. So UFC 209 is another big card, but the specter of McGregor looms large. He stills says that he’s going to fight Floyd Mayweather next. That presents a problem.

Now, obviously the UFC doesn’t want McGregor-Mayweather to happen unless the UFC is front and center. The problem is that Mayweather has no reason to want that. He doesn’t need the UFC. He’s the top dog in this equation. McGregor is second on that power list, and he’ll have millions of reasons to do this fight, even without the UFC’s blessing or involvement. McGregor would probably make more money off of this one boxing match than he has in his entire MMA career, even if you add any future fights for the UFC.

This is completely game-changing money here. Mayweather is a proven draw. Yeah, he’s 40 and not what he once was, but he still draws tremendous attention. McGregor’s resume speaks for itself as well and is a bigtime draw in his own right. This would be the first time that Mayweather has faced someone who can talk trash as well as, or better than, he can. There would be people who would pay money to see these guys cut promos on each other in the build-up, let alone the actual fight.  This could be the biggest fight in sports history, in terms of sales. That’s a lofty place to be in, because Manny Pacquiao vs. Mayweather did 4.6 million buys. That’s an astronomical amount, but I think it’s possible. This fight would be framed as boxing vs. MMA and American vs. Irishman. It’s way too overly simplistic to say such things, but they make for great headlines.

The point is, I couldn’t count out this fight doing 5 million buys or more. Of course, it could do 3 million and still be a tremendous success. And it would still be a lot more money than McGregor will likely see in his UFC career. And it would further the Conor McGregor brand. The UFC might just have to try to make as much money as they can off of McGregor while they can, before he’s priced out of their organization for good.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 172 and UFC Fight Night 105 including Lewis, Browne, Koscheck

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @hydenfrank.

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