- Conor McGregor has u-turned over refusal to pay Nevada State Commission fine
- Nevada State Commission now likely to approve McGregor’s boxing licence
- Mayweather reportedly recruited a UFC sparring partner to prepare for McGregor
A crossover fight between ring legend Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor continues to gain momentum as three key developments suggest a boxing-rules contest is close to becoming reality.
A pre-fight melee in Las Vegas involving McGregor and previous opponent Nate Diaz ahead of their 2016 rematch earned the Irishman a £120,000 fine and 50 hours of community service.
McGregor had no intention of paying the fine and even wished the Nevada State Commission (NSC) “good luck” in getting it.
Much has changed since then as The Sun claims McGregor has performed a stunning u-turn and has agreed to pay a £20,000 fine with 25 hours of community service.
McGregor’s softening stance appears to have gone done well with the NSC, who now appear open to be granting the 27-year-old a licence to box in Las Vegas.
As a UFC fighter, McGregor has never needed a licence to box, as he instead required a mixed martial arts licence. He has competed in Nevada five times and has a long-running relationship with the NSC.
There was initial scepticism over whether McGregor would be able to obtain a licence, as he has little amateur boxing career to speak of and has never boxed professionally.
This makes his challenge to Mayweather — one of the most technically-adept pugilists of the modern era — all the more remarkable.
Inexperience in the ring may not deter the NSC, though, as chairman Anthony Marnell confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the crossover fight “would be hard to not approve.”
Marnell said: “I can’t tell you that we would approve that fight or not, but I would lean to the fact we most likely would. We would want to go watch [McGregor] in a little bit of a boxing environment but it’s hard to argue [against it as] you have the best boxer probably of all time against one of the best strikers in the UFC.”
Mayweather has sounded out potential sparring partners
In previous fights, Floyd Mayweather has employed up to six sparring partners to assist his training.
Each partner provides Mayweather with a different challenge, and is paid to mirror certain aspects of an opponent’s fighting style. Some have been brought in for their stamina, some for their punching power, and some for their defensive or offensive acumen.
Last year, Mayweather contacted versatile American UFC fighter Kevin Lee, who is now on board to train with the boxing legend. 24-year-old Lee has a wrestling background, something McGregor lacks, but also has solid punching power — something McGregor has in abundance.
“When this fight was first approached about a year ago or so, [Mayweather’s team] came to me and asked me to be Mayweather’s training partner if they could make the fight happen,” Lee told MMAjunkie Radio.
“I don’t know if they’re any closer now than they were a year ago but I’m excited to be his training partner for it.”
Interestingly, Lee is from Grand Rapids, the same neighbourhood that Mayweather grew up in.
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