After ripping the mega-clash between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, Oscar De La Hoya challenged McGregor to a boxing match. Nevermind that De La Hoya is 44 and hasn’t fought since 2008. He wants back in the ring, and he wants McGregor.
“Oscar De La Hoya is nuts,” UFC President Dana White said on Tiki and Tierney. “The guy is an absolute screwball. Am I the only one that sees this? He’s absolutely nuts. He comes out and says that Mayweather versus McGregor . . . is an absolute disgrace to boxing, it’s disgusting, it’s an embarrassment – the list goes on and on. Saying eff-you Mayweather-versus-McGregor on Twitter and stuff. And then, after the fight’s over, he comes out a few days later and says, ‘Yeah, I’m getting ready. I’m back in the gym. I want to fight Conor McGregor.’”
White does not see that happening.
“In a perfect world, for me, that was a one-and-done,” he said, referring to McGregor/Mayweather. “It was obviously very successful, but at the end of the day, we did this. We did this 20 years ago, 25 years ago, whatever it was, with the UFC. You put one discipline against another. If that fight was in the UFC, that fight ends much sooner in the first round. Conor wins. Conor wanted to do this. He looked really good doing it. He looked good. I had Conor winning the first three and you could argue the first four.”
Before the fight, many of White’s boxing friends – Mike Tyson, Teddy Atlas, Max Kellerman, etc. – told him that McGregor didn’t have a prayer against Mayweather.
“All these guys are saying leading up to the fight, ‘Conor McGregor will not land one punch on Floyd Mayweather. This will be an absolute destruction. He will destroy him,’” White said, chuckling. “I have a ton of faith in Conor. I told the world I saw him destroy Paulie Malignaggi in sparring, but it’s Floyd Mayweather at the end of the day. My partner, Lorenzo Fertitta, was sitting next to me, and I kept looking over at him going, ‘We found this kid in Ireland four years ago. He’s going into the fourth round with Floyd Mayweather. He’s going into the sixth round with Floyd Mayweather. He’s going into the eighth round with Floyd Mayweather.’ It was very surreal.”
Indeed, McGregor looked sharp in the early rounds but tired as the match wore on. Mayweather scored the knockout just over a minute into the 10th round.
Had McGregor had more time to train, he might have been able to finish the fight.
“He definitely needed to be in better boxing shape,” White said. “Without a doubt.”
McGregor’s future plans remain unknown, but there’s at least a chance he may never fight again. White, though, isn’t worried.
“What’s funny is ever since we started the company,” he said, “people were saying to me ‘What are you going to do when Chuck Liddell is gone? What are you going to do when Anderson Silva’s gone? You’re in big trouble when GSP leaves. I’ve never heard the end of it. Ronda Rousey has been gone now for a long time. It’s the business. It’s the same thing that other sports go through. ‘The NBA’s dead when Jordan leaves.’ The NBA is alive and thriving, trust me. You go through cycles with different people and different stars. Somebody always pops up.”
Other standout fighters, such as Tyron Woodley and Demetrious Johnson, have had great success in the octagon but haven’t become superstars a la Conor. Why is that? Why don’t these guys move the needle?
“It’s one of those things that you really can’t put your finger on or explain,” White said. “Woodley, I can. Woodley publicly complains a lot and fights with the fans a lot. Fans of fighting want a guy or girl who is dominant like that and just comes out and has that ‘I will fight anybody, anywhere, anytime’ attitude. Look at Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor has come out and literally fought anybody. Jumped around in weight classes, done all this stuff – he’s obviously very special. He’s funny. He’s got that thing. But a big part of it is being a killer in this sport. People want to follow, get behind, and love a killer who just wants to go out and destroy the world. They love it.”