A late-night Tuesday phone call to reattach an agenda item to Wednesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission meeting was blessed casually, as was an Aug. 26 opening at MGM Grand that could be filled by Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Conor McGregor.
The commission on Wednesday granted the request of Mayweather Promotions for the Showtime-televised date at MGM Grand, which also was used for the record-shattering $72-million live gate for Mayweather’s 2015 victory over Manny Pacquiao.
While Mayweather, his manager, Al Haymon, and UFC President Dana White are still negotiating purse splits and pay-per-view percentages, Wednesday’s step moves the unique match between boxing’s unbeaten pound-for-pound king Mayweather (49-0) and McGregor, the UFC’s only simultaneous two-division champion, closer to reality.
Some insiders have speculated the date might be too soon to meet, given the talks and the necessary training time.
Yet both fighters have recently posted social media photos of themselves back in the gym, and the date is ideal for McGregor, 28, who has told White he’d also like to fight in the UFC before the end of the year.
While Mayweather, 40, has been sidelined since announcing his retirement following a victory over Andre Berto in September 2015, McGregor has been off since producing a brilliant striking clinic in winning the lightweight (155-pound) belt from Eddie Alvarez in November in the main event of the UFC’s first Madison Square Garden card.
The placement of the fight at MGM Grand might seem odd considering that T-Mobile Arena across the Strip seats about 4,000 more fans, but a fight promotional expert said MGM Grand is ideal because it allows Mayweather and Haymon to dictate prices to ticket brokers.
“They know the formula, know what the supply and demand will be,” said the official, who declined to be identified because he’s employed by a rival promoter.
“By adding in 4,000 extra seats, the brokers might’ve tried to say, ‘We’re not paying that … ’ but now they really have no choice.”