Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are finally going to do it.
After years of a will-they, won’t-they dance and public posturing on both sides, the world’s most famous mixed martial artist and most famous boxer will go head to head. It’ll be a boxing match, and it’ll happen in Las Vegas on Aug. 26. Both fighters have confirmed the fight on their social media accounts.
It’ll be one of the most anticipated boxing matches in the modern history of the sport, and tons of money will be made. Mayweather will enter the bout as a heavy favorite to win, though not as heavy as it once seemed.
What follows here is a timeline of Mayweather and McGregor’s dealings leading up to the announcement they’d actually fight.
Here’s a video of their beef.
And here’s the month-to-month leading up to the fight.
McGregor told late-night host Conan O’Brien he’d be down to box Mayweather.
"If you’re asking would I like to fight Floyd Mayweather — I mean, who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?" McGregor said.
"I certainly know he would not want to step into my world; the world of pure unarmed combat where there’s no limitations, but I most certainly would step into his world. I would certainly box him if the opportunity arose. Most certainly."
McGregor has never lacked confidence in himself.
“If we were to get it on, I would most certainly dismantle him, also,” he said.
Mayweather said McGregor was treated better because he’s white.
“They say he talk a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I'm cocky and arrogant,” Mayweather told Fight Hype in an interview. “So biased! Like I said before, all I'm saying is this, I ain't racist at all, but I'm telling you racism still exists.”
McGregor shot back the next day in the caption of an Instagram post:
...don't ever bring race into my success again. I am an Irishman. My people have been oppressed our entire existence. And still very much are. I understand the feeling of prejudice. It is a feeling that is deep in my blood. In my family's long history of warfare there was a time where just having the name 'McGregor' was punishable by death. Do not ever put me in a bracket like this again. If you want we can organise a fight no problem. I will give you a fair 80/20 split purse in my favour seen as your last fight bombed at every area of revenue.
Mayweather’s “Fight of the Century” against Manny Pacquiao in 2015 was not exciting for lots of viewers, but it was a commercial success. But his fight with Andre Berto in 2015 — to which McGregor was referring — was a financial dud. Mayweather made millions, but everything in this sport is relative.
This is when things started to ratchet up.
The Sun in the United Kingdom reported Mayweather and McGregor were “on the verge” of agreeing to a fight that would be the richest in boxing history.
Both sides just have to agree on the purse and sign the paperwork — which sources say is imminent — and an announcement is likely to be made in the coming weeks.
A source told The Sun: “Floyd went mad after Conor said he would crush him and knock him out in 30 seconds; he’s obsessed with making Conor eat his words.
“Floyd is calling the shots. It’s strictly boxing and Conor will have to lose roughly 25 lbs.
“It was agreed in principle on May 2, but Floyd wouldn’t reveal the identity of his opponent until last night when he told friends he’ll be fighting Conor.”
UFC president Dana White, who’d have to permit McGregor to fight anywhere outside the UFC, denied the story. Mayweather then said he started the rumors himself and that a fight with McGregor was, at some point, “possible.”
"Keep y’all fingers crossed,” Mayweather said. “It may be a boxer vs. an MMA fighter."
The back-and-forth in the press continued for days. White told Mayweather to call him if he wanted to fight McGregor. Mayweather said he was retired and would only return to the ring to fight McGregor. The champion said he offered McGregor $50 million for the fight, which would be preposterously low for an alleged billion-dollar bout.
McGregor was as amused as you’d expect.
“He’s getting old now,” McGregor said. “I have the size, I have the reach, I have the height, I have the youth. He needs me. I don’t need him.”
The posturing moved to social media at that point. McGregor hashtagged this post with #MoneyMcGregorWhatsFloydGonnaDo?
For his part, Mayweather posted a faux fight poster:
“If I only had to focus on boxing, hell, I'd be neck and neck with Floyd right now,” McGregor said.
McGregor said Mayweather was “running around the Showtime offices begging for those executives to come up with $100 million cash for me, to fight me.” (McGregor would later name that figure as his demand for the fight.)
He got his boxing license in California a few weeks later. He’d been unable to get such a license in Nevada because of his previous bottle-throwing incident with Nate Diaz, which occurred during a promotional event for a fight last fall.
Mayweather’s promotions head, Leonard Ellerbe, let McGregor have it:
"It's all a game. It's all a calculated effort to gain more fans," Ellerbe said. "He got a boxing license. Congratulations to him. Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to but he has a boss and his name is [UFC president] Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can't because his bosses wouldn't allow that to happen. The brass [from WME-IMG] who recently purchased the UFC [for $4 billion earlier this year] are very smart people and they would never -- and put this in bold caps -- let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post."
Also, remember when Nate Diaz beat up McGregor at UFC 196 and got MMA’s biggest star to tap out? Mayweather told Diaz he’d put the “finishing touches” on McGregor.
In December, Mayweather had said he’d give McGregor $15 million on the fight’s front end. (That doesn’t account for revenue shares later on, which would be massive.)
McGregor tweeted this:
Mayweather did prison time for a 2010 assault of his then-girlfriend. He was reportedly angry about text messages she had received from Watson, an NBA guard.
White, the UFC boss, made a counteroffer to Mayweather: $25 million for each fighter, with pay-per-view splits to be worked on later. Mayweather responded that White was a “fucking comedian” and audibly laughed when approached by a reporter.
Mayweather then went after McGregor’s wealth:
Before you ask for $25M, be worth more than $25M. You have the "2" and the "5" right but you meant to say $2.5M not $25M. pic.twitter.com/07vaWF0hen— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) January 19, 2017
McGregor told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani Mayweather was “scared shitless” of him, and he made a lot of people believe for the first time that he wasn’t just trolling about fighting Mayweather.
“One-hundred percent,” McGregor said. “I believe the next time I step into a combat arena will be through the ropes wearing 10-ounce or eight-ounce gloves. I believe so.
McGregor was in Las Vegas, and Mayweather tweeted:
This prompted a taunt from McGregor:
I am in Las Vegas. Floyd has retired on my arrival. pic.twitter.com/z9EcxBJaDr— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 15, 2017
Let’s throw it back to Mayweather:
The tide turned around this point.
Mayweather called McGregor a “little punk” and said he should “stop blowing smoke up people’s ass.” Mayweather then said he was out of retirement to face McGregor.
On Conan, White expressed the most confidence yet that the fight would go on.
“I do think it’s gonna happen,” White told the host. “I think it’s going to be a tough deal because obviously [there are] a lot of egos involved in this deal and a lot of people, so that always makes it tougher. On the flip side, there’s so much money involved. I just don’t see how it doesn’t happen.”
McGregor appeared in front of a bunch of boxing media members a few days later and said all kinds of mean things about Mayweather.
"You're the boxing guy? I'm the boxing guy. Watch me take over boxing,” McGregor said. “Trust me on that. No one in this boxing game knows what’s coming. Trust me on that. When I step in there, I’m going to shock the whole goddamn world. Trust me on that. Look me in the eyes. Twenty-eight years of age, confident as a motherfucker, long, rangy, dangerous with every hand. Trust me, I’m going to stop, Floyd, and you’re all going to eat your words. The whole world is going to eat their words.”
A few days after that, McGregor said a deal to fight Mayweather was “close to done,” with Sept. 2017 in mind as the timeframe for the fight.
He also got his penalty for the Diaz bottle-throwing kerfuffle reduced, freeing him to apply for a boxing license in Nevada.
McGregor announced he’d signed his half of a contract to make the fight happen.
“We now await Al Haymon and his boxer’s signature in the coming days.” Haymon is a top Mayweather aide.
McGregor applied for a Nevada boxing license — a key step in setting up a Las Vegas bout with Mayweather.
Mayweather sounded an optimistic tone about the fight, too:
“They said Conor McGregor signed his end of the deal. I look forward to signing my end of the deal. I haven’t signed my end of the deal yet so once I get home, I’ll communicate with my team, I’ll talk with Al Haymon, I’ll talk with Leonard, and we’ll see what we come up with. We’ll put all our great minds together and we’re gonna have another superfight.”
It was becoming clearer that this fight would happen. Now, it will.
Both McGregor and Mayweather confirmed the fight June 14 on their individual social media accounts.
McGregor posted a tweet with a photo of himself and Floyd Mayweather Sr., actually, but the meaning is clear.
Mayweather posted a promotional video on his Instagram.
August 26. It’s happening.