What has to happen in the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight for this to help MMA vs. hurting MMA?
JOHN HARRIS, MMATORCH Contributor
I think it really depends on McGregor’s performance. If he is able to be somewhat competitive then there is a chance you will be able to draw in future business from the hardcore boxing purists who have often turned their nose up to MMA. If McGregor is dominated or knocked out early, it will just further the belief of the hardcore boxing fans that MMA fighters are not on the same level stand up wise as boxers. I don’t see this fight bringing in a new audience of non-combat sports fans to MMA. Maybe a few, but not a significant amount. The UFC has been established as part of the mainstream sports world at least since UFC 100. They are not on the level of the NBA or NFL, and I just don’t think that they ever will be no matter how big of a fight they are able to put together. I still believe there is a large portion of boxing fans who do not watch or follow MMA. I think that is a huge demographic that MMA could bring in and possibly keep long term. If McGregor can be competitive and behave himself in the ring, then I think there is a chance you may be able to win some of those fans over enough to order a future UFC PPV.
ANDY MONSON, MMATorch Contributor
In all seriousness, it should have no impact whatsoever. Ronda Rousey had losses in Judo, Cyborg Justino has a loss each in kickboxing and grappling. As long as McGregor doesn’t get absolutely flattened within the first three rounds, he’ll have hung in there with the best boxer of this generation.
JOHN KIM, MMATorch Contributor
This fight won’t affect MMA one way or another. I think boxing has more to lose than MMA does.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Contributor
The only way this fight hurts MMA is if McGregor gets smoked in the first round. That’s unlikely to happen because Mayweather isn’t known for his punching power. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have power; he just very rarely uses it. Even a stoppage loss for McGregor in the second round or later isn’t that big a deal because of the number of fans who expect him to get stopped in the first round. Also, because this is Mayweather, a stoppage loss before the eighth round would surprise me. The vast majority of Mayweather’s TKO wins were in the 20th century. Considering that we’re almost 18 years into the 21st century… well, it’s safe to say that the most likely scenario is a dominating Mayweather decision. I don’t think McGregor losing a decision to Mayweather hurts MMA. It doesn’t really help MMA either, unless McGregor looks really good and the scores are close. I don’t see that happening, but if it does, that helps MMA.
ZACK HEYDORN, MMATorch Contributor
I don’t think anything about this fight can truly hurt MMA. In my mind, the fact that this fight is happening is already a major boost for the sport and especially the UFC. A significant number of new eyes will be on MMA and the UFC for the first time strictly because they will be watching Conor McGregor. Sure, it will be within the confines of a boxing match, but the sport of MMA will be discussed, debated, and promoted. More importantly though, people will be watching MMA’s biggest star. If he wins, obviously that helps raise MMA’s status in the eyes of boxing purists. If he loses, he’s fighting outside of his comfort zone anyway. No harm no foul and a win-win for MMA. Regardless of the outcome, more eyes on the product is always a good thing and MMA will indirectly have that come Saturday night.
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch Contributor
Considering the fight is happening is a “win” for the UFC. I think the promotion for the fight – and the fight itself – has and will bring more eyes to the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts than ever before. The question is, will casual viewers and boxing fans continue to follow and watch MMA after the fight? If McGregor gets knocked out in the first round, which I don’t see happening, then I don’t see it helping them gain more fans. However, if Conor hangs around and loses a competitive decision or (gasp) wins, then I think it can only help draw more people to the sport. In my opinion this is a win/win for the UFC.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: How many PPV buys will the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight have? More than 5 million, or less than 5 million?