Please, No MMA For Money May

This is so… exasperating. Here boxing is, climbing back to the top of the world, and its newest transcendent star, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is talking about moving to mixed martial arts. It’s hard to tell how serious any of this chatter is; ESPN’s reporting on it is fairly credulous, and I’m sure the talks are happening. It’s not pure fiction, in other words. But — is it for real? By that I mean — is this actually a possibility? Another move by Mayweather’s team to get people talking about him, something they’re gifted at doing? (For evidence, read, um, what I’m writing right now.) Or is it a way for him to ease into investing in MMA with his pal Mark Cuban’s rival to the UFC — something like a bait and switch? I’m firmly in the camp of boxing being a better combat sport than MMA, from the standpoint of entertainment value. I’m also firmly in the camp of thinking that an MMA fighter who gets into the ring with a good boxer under boxing rules gets knocked out pretty quickly. But I’m also very, very firmly in the camp that a boxer who gets into the octagon with an MMA fighter gets creamed just as fast. And that includes Mayweather, who, while the most talented boxer in the world and a better than expected rough-houser, doesn’t have the one-punch knockout power to keep a guy off him who’s spent his life wrestling and practicing rear naked chokes or Boston Crabs or whatever they call their funny little moves in MMA. Mayweather’d have to fight some chumps and he still might lose. This ain’t like going from NASCAR to Formula 1, where at least you’re still driving a car. MMA is its own discipline, and only one element of it involves boxing. The switch from boxing to MMA hasn’t exactly worked out well for Ray Mercer, who’s not in Mayweather’s league as a boxer, of course, but I think what boxing dudes have found out is that it’s hard to believe how easily one can be put into a submission hold that freaking hurts. So until I hear otherwise, I’m going to assume that this is not a serious possibility. I’m going to assume that Mayweather aka “Money May”– I guess he’s got the professional wrestling alter ego thing down, if he’s looking to make the switch — is just more of his trademark gum-flappin’, self-promoting, overblown bluster. In part because that’s what I want it to be. JUST SAY YOU’RE GOING TO FIGHT MIGUEL COTTO, ALREADY, FLOYD! (Tip o’ the pen to E-ROC for sending us the link.)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.