In my life I have seen some excellent bar fights. Most bar fights are not very entertaining, as one drunk throws a punch at another drunk and it quickly turns into a wrestling match, usually with the two combatants knocking over some chairs and tables on their way to the floor. Once in a while though, you get a good one where the two drunks have the ability to stay upright and the willingness to trade blows. These are the ones that usually start inside, but go outside where they “can settle it like men.”
I once saw a guy setup like Bruce Lee, indicating he was a martial arts guy. He performed a perfectly executed round house kick. His mistake was that the other guy was not a martial arts guy so he ducked and then hit Kung Fu so hard with a right cross that his grandchildren will have headaches. Martial arts man hit the ground like he had been shot and that was the end of it. The crowd went back inside, leaving Kung Fu to search around for what went wrong. When I left he was gone so I guess he lived.
I’ve don’t have much respect for martial arts as a fighting tactic. When I was a little kid, of course, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Then one day an older boy, known for having a black belt, challenged me to a fight. I shot a single leg take down and then broke his nose in an unnecessarily aggressive cradle. When my father was told of my villainy, he bust out laughing. I learned that you can turn a fight into a wrestling match, but you can never turn a fight into a Karate match. It takes two to karate. That’s why my father put me into wrestling, instead of karate.
I thought of this when I read that UFC star Colin McGregor wants to fight boxer Floyd Mayweather. My guess is that it will never happen, but you never know. There are a lot of UFC fans willing to pay good money to see it. Given the two men’s ability to gain attention with their showboating, I bet they could get a $200 million box office for a fight. I’d probably buy it, even though I know McGregor would end up in the hospital or graveyard. I like freak shows as much as anyone and it would probably be hilarious.
That’s the thing with UFC. It is a modern freak show. They take tough guys and make believe they are highly skilled fighters. The martial arts stuff is a nice touch, because it distracts people from the fact these guys are just tough guys. They are allowed to use the tactics popular in bar fights, like tackling the other guy and kicking him in the groin. The organizers filter out the guys that are not entertaining and they hype the hell out of the events. It’s great marketing, particularly to young males.
That does not change the reality of the situation. McGregor is an excellent bar fighter, but Mayweather is a highly trained professional boxer. Even under the rules of the UFC, he would beat McGregor senseless in the first minute. My bet is the class of fighter you see at armory fights would beat the best UFC guys. The difference in skill, speed and strength is just too big. To even the odds, the rules would have to be altered heavily in favor of the bar fighter so it becomes a wrestling match, rather than a fight.
That reality is why this fight will never happen. The people running the UFC are too smart to have their best star humiliated. They spend too much time developing and marketing their stars to let one of them get beaten up by a real boxer. That would reveal the truth of it too plainly. Most UFC fans get that they are watching bum fights. They just like the back stories and the carnival of it. They can suspend their disbelief as long as all of the fighters are about the same in terms of skill.
My hunch with the UFC has always been that it is choreographed, like professional wrestling. The Kimbo Slice debacle has not been repeated and that tells me the organizers learned their lesson. A lot of people came away from that experience thinking it was just all hype and no real competition. Ever since, they have tried to keep the matches competitive looking, in order to keep up appearances. Whether they go beyond that to make the shows fun is open to debate. Given the age, my bet is they put their thumb on the scales.
Even if it is all on the level, the people running the UFC did not become billionaires by being stupid and it would be very stupid to have their top star beaten senseless by Floyd Mayweather. That’s why it is highly unlikely that it ever happens, at least not as long as McGregor is under contract with the UFC. Even a $200 million payday would not be enough to risk a billion dollar business. It’s much better to let fans pretend that these bar fighters are real fighters.