- Saudi Arabia desperately wants to make Floyd Mayweather vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov happen and is reportedly making nine-figure offers, Yahoo Sports says.
- Nurmagomedov says it would be a “money” fight rather than a career or legacy-defining bout, like his upcoming battle against Tony Ferguson on April 18 in Brooklyn.
- Insider has been told Saudi Arabia wants to replace Las Vegas as the boxing capital of the world. It staged the Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua rematch in Diriyah, December 2019.
- A Mayweather vs. Nurmagomedov fight is one of two combat sports events Saudi Arabia is pursuing, as it also hopes to win the rights to host a rumoured fight between Manny Pacquiao and Mikey Garcia.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is getting $US100 million offers from Saudi Arabia to fight the retired American boxer Floyd Mayweather.
According to Kevin Iole, the combat sports reporter at Yahoo Sports, “desperate” Saudi Arabian officials “are offering well into nine figures to put on the bout.”
Nurmagomedov is Insider’s No.1-ranked MMA fighter in the world right now as he’s unbeaten in 28 fights, with significant wins on his record over Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Rafael dos Anjos.
Mayweather, meanwhile, has not fought professionally since his 10th round stoppage victory over McGregor in a boxing rules contest, though he did participate in an exhibition bout in Japan where he knocked Tenshin Nasukawa out in the first round on a New Year’s Eve show in Saitama, 2018.
Ever since Nurmagomedov beat McGregor, there has been talk about a super showdown with Mayweather, and the Dagestan wrestler even held talks with the Russian Boxing Federation in 2018 to see if it could happen in front of 100,000 fans in his own country.
Now, if the fight does happen, it could take place in Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is reportedly interested in staging the event. Nurmagomedov described it as a “money” bout rather than a legacy fight, like his April 18 UFC lightweight title defence against Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn.
“Mayweather is only a money fight,” Nurmagomedov told Yahoo Sports. “It’s only for the money, period. That’s it. But they [the Saudis] want me to come very badly to fight with Mayweather.”
The rules of such a fight are currently unclear, but Nurmagomedov recently said he would not be averse to competing in 11 three-minute rounds of boxing, providing the 12th was a five minute round where he could use MMA rules.
Saudi Arabia wants to replace Las Vegas as the boxing capital of the world
Saudi Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was instrumental in bringing championship boxing to his country, and worked with the powerful boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to stage the Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua rematch in Diryah, December 2019.
Amnesty International criticised the show at the time, telling Insider it “masked a darker truth” because of human rights issues in the country, and that boxing was burying its head in the sand.
However, Hearn recently told Insider that Prince Khalid said the Ruiz Jr. and Joshua fight would be “the first of many.”
He says Prince Khalid told him: “We are going to make Saudi Arabia the boxing capital of the world.”
Luring Nurmagomedov and Mayweather into a lucrative showdown in Saudi Arabia would continue to elevate the Kingdom’s standing in hosting big events in combat sports, but it could be one of two fights it stages this year.
Hearn wants to entice the former eight-weight world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao into a welterweight ruckus with his DAZN client Mikey Garcia, who recently out-pointed Jessie Vargas in February and said after the fight in his locker room that he welcomes a challenge from Pacquiao.
If Pacquiao vs. Garcia does happen, it could land in Saudi Arabia in July.