Bob Bennett isn’t going to comment on hypotheticals, which means he really isn’t going to comment on hypothetical buffoonery.
Which means he isn’t going to comment on the nonsense that is anyone believing a Floyd Mayweather Jr.- Conor McGregor fight has the slightest chance of happening, no matter how rich a payday it might generate for all involved.
“Our No. 1 priority is always the health and safety of the fighters,” said Bennett, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission. “That’s how we approach whether we approve or don’t approve all our bouts. If a proposed fight is brought to us, we naturally review it the same way as all others, look at medicals and a litany of data for our research, make a decision and pass it up the chain of command.
“But boxing and mixed martial arts are separate sports.”
What he is saying but won’t say: If we are to begin this fairy tale with a premise that Mayweather would insist on dictating everything about the fight — that it would be a boxing match inside a square circle and not anything to do with rear-naked choke holds inside an octagon — Bennett would have serious concerns about recommending Nevada sanction it given the potential danger to McGregor.
Mayweather would box the Irish right out of him.
Things could get really, really bad for the bearded one.
Of course, the entire ordeal is riddled with challenges that never would be met, beginning with the fact McGregor is under a long-term contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and its president, Dana White, allows others to dictate any promotion involving one of his fighters about as often as he goes a day without swearing.
Can you imagine the staring contest between Mayweather and White as to which would blink first when negotiating? It would make that six-year wait for Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao seem like an hour.
I suppose another state could sanction whatever sort of competition the sides agreed upon, but Mayweather last fought outside Las Vegas in 2005. Floyd doesn’t do road trips for work, and he certainly wouldn’t agree to anything that included fighting on the ground.
This. Isn’t. Happening.
It doesn’t seem to bother the NAC much that Mayweather as a licensed promoter (or at least the one whose name is on his promotional company) has so publicly spoken about challenging a guy who’s under contract in another sport. I assume that’s because Bennett, more than anyone else, understands this is a story of all hype and zero substance.
Floyd loves the spotlight, and his retirement — which will eventually end in an attempt to push his record to 50-0, just not against McGregor — hasn’t allowed him much time under it.
So he finds the TV cameras and goes on and on about fighting McGregor, even saying this week he offered the UFC champion $50 million to accept the challenge, which would be about half what Mayweather would demand, a percentage split White would readily agree upon … or not.
(Enter laugh track here).
As for the UFC’s part in this entire stunt, we are again witnessing why White and those around him run such a successful brand. They have rightly not taken one inch of the story seriously and yet find themselves in headlines across the globe daily for it.
Talk about great free publicity. I would think White walks into the office each day and high-fives all his employees at the sheer stupidity of it.
White and McGregor met this week for dinner in Los Angeles, and reports said the two “Hugged when they first met … a very aggressive embrace … the kind you could hear from down the hall.”
People heard a hug?
Who are these guys, men of the Night’s Watch embracing at the wall before facing off against all the wildlings and White Walkers?
Come to think of it, Mayweather has a better chance of fighting Jon Snow than McGregor.
Now there is a matchup that would break all pay-per-view records.
It seems White and McGregor, along with company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, broke bread in a peaceful manner and probably discussed when and where one of the sport’s most entertaining and money-making faces will next fight and against whom.
The UFC was correct in pulling McGregor from its 200th show on July 9 for refusing to attend a promotional event for it in Las Vegas, but it also knows how important he is to the company’s long-term bottom line.
It’s just another reason agreeing to have their biggest star box Mayweather would prove foolish.
While it’s true MMA is a completely different discipline and McGregor’s place atop the sport is unquestioned, marketing him after what surely would be a Mayweather rout in the ring would be far more difficult than it is now.
Much of McGregor’s aura would vanish.
White knows this. He also knows that, in this instance, he has all the leverage.
That’s why he chuckles each time someone asks about a Mayweather-McGregor fight.
For the sheer stupidity of it.
But, hey, who wouldn’t love all those free headlines?
Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Twitter: @edgraney