Floyd Mayweather in talks over UFC deal

UFC president Dana White: ‘We’re interested in doing something with Floyd’

Floyd Mayweather in action against Conor McGregor in  their fight in Las Vegas. Photograph:   Lionel Hahn/PA Wire

Floyd Mayweather in action against Conor McGregor in their fight in Las Vegas. Photograph: Lionel Hahn/PA Wire

 

UFC president Dana White says Floyd Mayweather is in talks with the promotion about coming out of retirement and entering the sport of mixed martial arts in a potential billion-dollar move.

“We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal,” White told ESPN. “It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media and then that shit ends up happening.

“We’re interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather versus McGregor f**king happened. Anything is possible.”

Mayweather, a five-division boxing champion, emerged from a 23-month retirement in August for a one-off match against McGregor under boxing rules, defeating the UFC superstar by ninth-round TKO to improve his record to 50-0.

The 40-year-old American has previously made brash statements about crossing over to the octagon, first during the build-up to the McGregor fight and most recently during a live-streamed Q&A with fans last week.

“If I want, I can go, I can come right back to the UFC, I can go fight in the octagon,” Mayweather said. “I can do a three- or four-fight deal in the octagon and make a billion dollars.”

But what was initially dismissed as boilerplate Mayweather bluster was given weight on Tuesday when veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who is close associates with White, confirmed the boxer and MMA’s leading promotion had opened discussions on a potential move.

“Floyd talked about it. This is one thing I can tell you,” Rogan said in a podcast released on Tuesday. “Dana told me that Floyd wants to make a deal in the UFC. Like legitimately. I texted him, I go ‘Is Floyd really talking about fighting MMA?’ He goes ‘Yeah, he’s f**king crazy. I told him he’d get killed. But he’s still talking about doing it.”

Mayweather’s publicist was unable to confirm the fighter had been in talks with the UFC when reached by the Guardian on Wednesday.

Showtime, which broadcast the money-spinning Mayweather-McGregor circus in the United States, confirmed last week that it sold 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America, the second-highest total ever after Mayweather’s long-anticipated welterweight showdown with Manny Pacquiao in 2015. The network also claimed the total global revenue from the event including ticket sales, sponsorship and international distribution exceeded $600 million (€505 million), among the largest windfalls for a single-day sporting event along with Mayweather-Pacquiao.

US bookmaker Bovada was offering odds Wednesday on whether Mayweather would take part in a UFC fight in 2018.

McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, has not fought inside the octagon since a TKO win over Eddie Alvarez in November 2016, with a rumoured return at UFC 219 on December 30th having been scuttled. – Guardian service

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