On Saturday August 26 Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will meet in the boxing ring for the biggest fighting spectacle of the year.
While experts don’t give McGregor much of a chance against one of the best defensive boxers who has ever lived, the public seem to believe in him, with 95% of bettors putting their money down on McGregor.
But despite his huge public support, there’s one group that thinks McGregor will be so overmatched that the fight should have never been sanctioned in the first place: the Association of Ringside Physicians.
According to a report from the New York Times, the group was surprised that the fight was approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“We were very surprised this bout was even sanctioned and was going to be permitted to carry on,” said Larry Lovelace, a doctor and the president of the organisation, which is focused on preserving fighter safety. “The thing I really fear, truly fear, is that somebody’s going to get really hurt in this upcoming fight.”
Their concern is well-reasoned. Despite McGregor’s undeniable skill as a fighter, in the boxing ring much of his learned skills are useless, as he can’t grapple, wrestle, throw elbows, or any other “mixed” aspect of mixed martial arts. Meanwhile, Mayweather has 20 years of boxing instincts behind him, and has defeated every fighter he’s ever faced (all of whom had actual boxing experience).
As the article notes, there’s precedent for MMA fighters being injured in the boxing ring. In June, UFC veteran Tim Hague died just two days after being knocked out in the second round of his fourth career boxing match.
The New York Times article also noted the inherent conflict of interest that commissions have when they set up fights.
The Nevada commission has a particularly large financial stake in the Mayweather-McGregor bout. The state receives 8 per cent of the gross revenue from every ticket sold at a boxing event in Nevada, and the commission gets 25 per cent of that amount.
Leonard Ellerbe, the chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, and Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, have told reporters that over $US60 million in tickets have been sold for the fight, which means Nevada stands to receive in excess of $US4.8 million, with the athletic commission’s cut topping $US1.2 million.
Regardless of the concerns of the Association of Ringside Physicians, there’s no stopping Mayweather and McGregor from duking it out in the ring this Saturday. The main card is set to kick off at 9 p.m. ET, with the headlining fight expected about two hours after that.
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