UFC president Dana White had been downplaying the possibility of a Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather megafight for months, but during an appearance on Conan Wednesday night, White reversed course and admitted that he believes Mayweather vs. McGregor is likely to happen.
On Thursday's episode of Undisputed, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe reacted to White's comments, and Bayless argued that the pressure is now all on Mayweather to back up his bold statements.
Dana White: I think Mayweather vs. McGregor will happen
“I do think it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be a tough deal, there’s obviously a lot of egos involved in this deal, and a lot of people. So that always makes it tougher.
On the flip side, there’s so much money involved, I just don’t see how it doesn’t happen.
… Floyd’s definitely not knocking him out, that’s for sure. I’m not saying that Conor would win this boxing match, but it sure makes it interesting.”
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: The UFC and Conor's camp must have reached a lucrative agreement
“I am pleasantly surprised. In fact, I am pleasantly shocked that Dana said this. Obviously, even very recently before the Super Bowl, Dana all but laughed at the potential of this ‘fight’ happening when he said ‘it’s more likely I would be Tom Brady’s backup quarterback in the Super Bowl,’ than this fight actually occurring. Do you remember that?
But, of course, you have to follow the money here. Conor is still under contract to Dana White’s UFC, so I’m just going to assume that in theinterim, from the Super Bowl to now, that UFC and Conor’s people have made an arrangement that the proceeds will be split, X, Y to Z.And that Dana is very comfortable with UFC’s split, as are Dana’s bosses. God bless them, more power to them.”
Joe CamporealeJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: Dana White is putting pressure on Floyd
“And now I believe that Dana just put the ball right back in Floyd’s court. I believe that Dana is calling Floyd’s bluff, and I still think it is a big, bad bluff on Floyd’s part.
They’re going to hold his feet to the fire. They’re going to put the bus back on Floyd to come to the bargaining table - because right now, Floyd’s really just jabbing and running, jabbing and running. Because he wants the public to believe he’s all but screaming for a fight while on the table is an insulting offer to Conor McGregor, and in turn, to UFC that no way Conor or UFC will agree to take.
So, my gut feeling, bottom line is I still doubt that Floyd May-or-may- not-weather will accept the terms of any fight, because Floyd is not going to dare to risk his 49-0 legacy against the baddest man on the planet who’s what… 13 years younger?”
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: Floyd Mayweather will have to accept that he's not the bigger draw
“The point is that Floyd wants the public to believe that he wants this fight, but all he’ll do is continue to make excuses. ‘He wants too much money! I’m the A-side and he’s the B-side..’
No you’re not, Floyd. Baloney you’re the A-side. Conor McGregor is the biggest global draw in either boxing of UFC. You can put them together. He’s bigger than any boxer, including the 40-year-old Floyd May-or-may-not-weather.
So now let’s get back to what Dana just threw onto the table, as he dared Floyd to take this fight. He said Floyd’s [short]. That’s true… he’s much smaller than Conor McGregor is. By Floyd’s standards, Conor’s a big, bad boy. He’s much longer and stronger than Floyd Mayweather is.
Floyd has had problems, said Dana, with southpaws. He’s always had problems with southpaws, that’s all too true. And as he said, Dana said, Conor hits hard. When he hits people, they go. They so go. And if Floyd got caught one time, he would so go. And Dana also concluded that Floyd definitely isn’t knocking out Conor McGregor. Well, that’s not a real bold statement, because the last time Floyd May-or-may- not-weather knocked anybody out was in 1999.”
Shannon: “Stop saying that, Skip. He knocked out [Arturo] Gatti.”
Skip: “He did not. I’m talking about knocking someone out, not by TKO.”
Jeffrey SwingerJeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: This has all been a strategy to drive up demand
“I disagree, and no I am not surprised Dana White said this fight is probably going to happen, because I always thought there was too much money involved for it not to happen. And what they were doing was called the art of the sale. What you do is that you put something out there… what they do is that when you clamor for something, because Dana White says ‘oh this fight’s not going to happen, I have a better chance of being Tom Brady’s backup.’
Well I sure hope he can throw a pass, ‘cause guess what’s about to happen? It’s about to go down.
Skip, there’s too much money involved. If Conor McGregor is as big as you say he is - this is not a 5-million [PPV] buy, this is a 10, 15-million buy. Now you’re talking about billions. Now you’re talking about $1 billion, $1.5, possibly $2 billion dollars. Ain’t nobody walking away from that, Skip.”
Adam HungerAdam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: The deal needed to be attractive for Dana White
“It’s going to happen. I told you it was going to happen. See, once the money got right with Dana White… the issue was never between Floyd and Conor.
Dana White’s saying ‘first of all, Conor has to have my blessing in order to fight. Now, if he’s going to make $100 million, $150 million,’ Dana White’s sitting back like ‘all I have to do is give my blessing and my corporation, which I own 5-10 percent ofcan get $50 million, $100 million? Man, I’d be a fool not to take this!’