Q&A: David Meltzer (Part Two)

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In part two of ASBO's Entertainment and Sports Editor's interview, Dave Meltzer gives the low-down on this years most highly anticipated fight: Connor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather...

ASBO: Dave, I know you cover MMA as well, so I have to ask you about Mayweather and McGregor. ASBO recently ran an article detailing how their fight has thus far been portrayed as an entertainment show, more than an actual sport, because of all the antics leading up to the fight...

Dave Meltzer: To me, the promotion of the fight is the show. The fight itself, I don’t know how to describe it. I mean... it’s a happening. It is a serious sport, don’t get me wrong. You know, their gonna fight really hard. But, by all logic, Mayweather should beat him easily. You know it’s a fight, things can happen, Mayweather could get hurt, but the skill level is gonna be awfully hard for McGregor to pick up on. The promotion is gonna be incredible, it’s gonna drive more revenue than anything. As far as pay-per-view goes, it’s gonna be the first or second biggest pay-per-view show in the history of pay-per-view.

ASBO: When it was first announced, what were your first thoughts, and did you support the booking of this fight?

Dave Meltzer: Do I like it? No, as a sport. Is it a fair contest? No. Everything is for 'one guy's rules'. When you have elite fighters, the result of the fight is determined by the rules of the fight. And, you got 'one guy's rules'. But, I mean as far as, for McGregor, it’s a home run. Even if he loses because he’s making his name bigger than ever before, he’s making his bank account bigger than ever before. He’s basically talked himself into a situation where he can make an incredible amount of money, and even if he loses, he’s twenty-nine years old and has lost in the biggest money-fight of all time. He’s gonna be able to make millions fighting forever anyway, or as long as he wants to. He doesn’t even have to fight again, either. He's manipulated the system, and he’s the big winner of all.

Mayweather has already made his money, and he's seen his chance to make a ton of money with little risk. I think Mayweather had pretty much retired, and then, saw like ‘wow’ I can make whatever it is - two-hundred million/two-hundred and fifty million dollars maybe more. I can make it in a fight that I have very little chance of losing. Against a fighter that’s never even done my sport. And for McGregor, instead of a ten million dollar payday, he’s gonna make a hundred million dollar payday or a hundred and fifty million dollar payday, and make his name bigger than ever before, and... Something will happen coming out of it. If he loses, he loses and then he is still an MMA champion, if he wants to still fight. And, if by some chance he wins, you know, he’s gonna be the biggest fighter in the world since Muhammad Ali.

ASBO: Even though I believe that it is more of an entertainment show, I can’t deny, I love it. I think it’s really entertaining and I’m definitely going to watch it.

Dave Meltzer: At points, they both got carried away. I think that the four press conferences may have been a little too much, because I covered that and by the end, it was kind of, you know, whatever. But the fan enthusiasm was incredible, and the talk on the street about the fight is just incredible. I mean, I know people who would never talk about - they wouldn’t even talk about Mayweather/Pacquiao, they wouldn’t talk about McGregor & Diaz, but they are talking about this fight. I mean, it is a main stream big thing, and people who don’t know anything are talking about it, and... There’s gonna be people watching it that don’t watch.

ASBO: Strangely, we’ve heard reports that the tickets for the fight have been a bit slow...

Dave Meltzer: They're not sold out, as far as the thing, but you’ve gotta put that into perspective. They’ve sold seventeen-thousand tickets, and all the tickets left are at thirty-five hundred dollars. That’s a lot of money for one night. Put it this way, if all those thirty-five hundred dollar tickets were priced at a thousand they’d be gone tomorrow, but there is a limit of how many people want to spend thirty-five hundred dollars, you know what I mean? So that’s what the deal is on that. It’s still gonna be - like its sixty-million dollars in advance. So it’s actually phenomenal, but yes, it’s not sold out. Which does surprise me, and you can say maybe that’s an indication of something, but a sixty-million dollar gate, except for Floyd & Pacquiao, nobody ever did a sixty-million dollar gate. So, like I said, even on pay-per-view it could be the second biggest pay-per-view of all time or it could be the first. But you know what? If it’s the second, it’s still a huge success.

ASBO: That’s what I was going to ask you, do you think it’s going to break the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view record?

Dave Meltzer: Pay-per-view record? You know, it’s up in the air. That fight that was weird because it was so big on the day of the fight. I just don’t know how big this one is going to be the day of the fight. I know it’s going to be big, but, again, in the United States. I think that maybe this fight could end up in second place.

So if it doesn’t break the record it’s because it wasn’t a serious sport event, but if it does, it’s because McGregor is a better talker. And you know what, like I said if it’s second of all time, it’s a huge success. If it’s first, it’s an even bigger success.

ASBO: That’s true. And either way, they win.

Dave Meltzer: The fighters have already won. Both of them have already won. And for McGregor, it’s like, you know at twenty-nine years old, you gotta remember that Mayweather wasn’t making this kind of money when he was twenty-nine, nobody ever was. No athlete has ever made this kind of money in one night, at twenty-nine years old. And he’s got like, however many years he wants left, it ups his profile greatly. Unless, he just goes in there and gets destroyed in like one round. As long as it’s a competitive fight, and he has something, where, when it’s over, he’s competitive enough and he can say, 'look I went into his game and almost beat him'. Then he’s a winner. If he comes close he wins. If he wins, he’s a giant winner. I mean, he’s still a winner even he loses in one round, in a sense, that he’s a financial winner. But, for going forward, as long as he is in the fight and he is competitive, he wins at the end.