Floyd Mayweather Jr. Proves MMA Is The Hot Commodity
By Jesse Heitz
Since the mid-2000s Mixed Martial Arts has been on a rocket-like trajectory. It has undoubtedly defied the predictions many skeptics made two decades ago. It is the fastest growing sport in the world, and is casting quite a shadow on the other combat sports, perhaps one could go so far as to say MMA is taking bricks from the house of boxing for example to build its own palace. Over the course of this past week, two stories have indicated that a shift is in progress in the sports world. As opposed to the quantitative statistics such as ratings and gate receipts, these two stories present the qualitative.
Two very high profile members of their respective sports have stated outright that they’d like to get involved in the MMA industry. First Floyd “Money” Mayweather, fresh off of his win over “Canelo” Alvarez, publicly commented that he like to get into promoting MMA fighters. We also witnessed “Good Ol’ J.R.”, or Jim Ross, longtime announcer and talent scout for World Wrestling Entertainment, state that he’d love to come and work for the UFC, namely.
First, let’s start with the good, the Jim Ross story. In an interview on The MMA Hour, Ross said the following regarding his possible transition into calling MMA bouts, maybe even for the UFC,
“I think that, quite frankly this may sound egocentric, but I think the transition from calling a pro wrestling match and calling MMA fights would be easy. I think it would just be getting more familiar with fighters, more familiar with techniques, nuances that I try to study with ample preparation. I’d say the same thing about broadcasting football.”
“Would you rather broadcast the arena league or the NFL? The UFC is the NFL. In my opinion, at my stage of the game, for me to be interested in something in the MMA world, it would be the UFC, or somebody has to sell me on the opportunity it would be equally as challenging and equally as rewarding. I’m certainly open minded. I think I’m a good enough businessman not to eliminate any opportunities. But my preference would be the UFC, if that could be my next adventure, my next journey, headed in that direction. I wouldn’t close the door on anybody.”
I know, the anti-professional wrestling segment of the MMA community, one that tends to be very vocal, is probably cursing the possibility that Ross might get involved in MMA, even the flagship promotion of the UFC. I personally don’t see anything wrong with it. Ross is unquestionably one of the most talented broadcasters in all of sports and has an eagle’s eye for talent. What’s more is that he has closely followed MMA since its inception, and has a clear passion for the sport. If you think about it, would Ross calling a UFC event be any more bizarre than Joe Rogan (comedian) and Jim Brown (legendary football player) providing color commentary?
Finally, we have Floyd Mayweather, who stated recently in an interview with Fight Hype,
“I want to promote MMA fighters also. We lookin‘ to promote MMA fighters…You know, Al Haymon is looking to manage MMA fighters. Even though Al Haymon hasn’t came on record and said it, but I want Al to manage MMA fighters. I think I can take it to the next level.”
There’s no way Mayweather can take MMA to the next level. First and foremost, it sounds like he plans on bringing the old draconian boxing style of fighter promotion, something that doesn’t really seem to fit into a sport that has veritable leagues already in place. Sure, he has considerable wealth to throw around, but he lacks the one thing that makes anyone successful in their respective business, and that’s passion. Mayweather has no passion for MMA. Worse yet, he has a storied history of trashing MMA. After all, it was only a few years ago he said “MMA is for beer drinkers, boxing is for everybody”. For some odd reason, I don’t think Mayweather’s foray into MMA will be a highly successful one.