From an MMA promoter’s perspective, the Bellator MMA president does question what the UFC will gain from letting McGregor enter the boxing world and face Mayweather on Mayweather’s turf. Most people in boxing feel like McGregor, a great UFC champion, does not stand much of a chance against the 49-0 Mayweather in boxing.
“Obviously, it’s gonna be a big money maker for everybody and that’s why they’re doing it,” Coker told MMA Fighting. “But you’re putting your fighter in harm’s way, so what’s the long term impact on that? I’m not sure. But I’ll tell you this: It’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”
UFC president Dana White said Wednesday on a conference call that he doesn’t believe McGregor losing to Mayweather would hurt either McGregor or the UFC.
“Absolutely not,” White said. “At the end of the day, these two guys wanted this fight, the fans wanted this fight, and Conor is a mixed martial artist going into a boxing match with arguably the greatest boxer of all time. I don’t think it damages the brand or Conor McGregor at all, I think it actually elevates Conor McGregor.”
While he has plenty of questions about the future after this for McGregor and the UFC, Coker can’t help but be attracted to the spectacle. He’s a huge combat sports fan and does not prescribe to the notion that Mayweather vs. McGregor would be damaging to either sport.
“How could it be?” Coker said. “I think the people that are gonna watch it, the people that are gonna buy it, they know what it is. It’s gonna be a great spectacle and a lot of great promotion going back and forth. I think Mayweather is a fighter that even Canelo couldn’t even hit or event Pacquiao couldn’t even hit. So, I think Conor has his hands full. But you never know in a fight, right? Who knows? Sometimes someone can get lucky.”
McGregor will be doing something no other UFC fighter has ever done — or been allowed to do. He remains under UFC contract and has worked with the promotion to broker the deal with Mayweather’s side. Some are saying that it could open up Pandora’s box and more MMA fighters will want to cross over into boxing.
UFC athletes Stipe Miocic, Cub Swanson, Jimi Manuwa and others have already been clamoring for boxing matches on social media. Coker doubts that this is something of a new trend. It’s because it’s Mayweather and McGregor, not MMA vs. boxing, he said.
“This fight is happening because everybody on the business side knows that it makes sense,” said Coker, who is promoting his own big fight card June 24 at Madison Square Garden, dubbed Bellator NYC. “There are other fighters in MMA that feel like they might have that kind of drawing power, but maybe they really don’t. I think it’ll be quickly unmasked. Either people care or they don’t and that’s what it really comes down to for me when it comes to fights.”
And this one people definitely care about. Mayweather vs. McGregor, which takes place Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will likely be one of the biggest pay-per-view events of all time.
“Any time Mayweather fights, the circus is in town, man,” Coker said. “It’s gonna be a big, big promotion. And Conor he can carry his own on the mic. The whole campaign leading up to the event is gonna be more entertaining than the fight.”
It’s something a huge combat sports fan like Coker couldn’t possibly resist, even if the inevitable outcome is obvious.
“I can’t wait to see it,” Coker said. “I want to see it. I’m gonna fly there and watch it live.”