In recent years Conor McGregor has shown himself to be a versatile fighter excelling in multiple weight classes, but it looks like the Irish UFC star is dabbling in an entirely new discipline.
The 28-year-old has been issued a boxing licence by the state of California, according to his management team. MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani joined Dean Blundell and Co. on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday morning to discuss the development and why McGregor sought the licence.
“Conor McGregor is a man of many interests,” he said. “He’s an unbelievably brilliant business man and this is something he’s been thinking about for quite some time.”
According to Helwani, the decision to pursue a boxing licence isn’t only a matter of establishing himself as a renaissance man, the timing was meant to send a message.
“Make no mistake about it the timing is not coincidental,” Helwani said. “Just a few days ago the UFC unceremoniously stripped him of his featherweight title in a head-scratching move. Quite frankly I think they disrespected him by doing it and he’s not said anything since.”
Perhaps the most obvious application of McGregor’s new accreditation is a super fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although the idea is undoubtedly an enticing one, there are many hurdles to clear to make it a reality.
“Does this open the floor to a Floyd Mayweather fight? [That’s] what everyone wants to know,” Helwani said. “There’s so much that needs to be done [for that to happen].”
The MMA writer sees UFC management strongly resisting any attempt by McGregor to make his mark in the boxing world.
“The UFC would fight him boxing anyone… So it’s going to be tough for him to get over that,” he said. “But this is a nice little first step for Conor McGregor.”
Mayweather promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe used far less cautious language to describe the situation, saying that not only would McGregor never be able to fight Mayweather, if he did the UFC star wouldn’t stand a chance.
“He got a boxing licence. Congratulations to him,” Ellerbe told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to, but he has a boss, and his name is (UFC president) Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC, and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can’t because his bosses wouldn’t allow that to happen.
“They would never — and put this in bold caps — let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather, because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.”