The long rumored boxing match between undefeated Floyd Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is a go, and aside from the fact that some fight fans are calling it a farce, there are a few pro wrestling connections.
One is that the scheduling of the bout, Saturday, Aug. 26 represents a near miss for WWE - it’s the weekend after TakeOver: Brooklyn III and SummerSlam. Still the superfight will suck a lot of air out of the sports conversation... but at least they don’t have to go head-to-head.
Both of those men have some ties to WWE. McGregor hasn’t officially done anything with them yet, but did engage in a high-profile war of words with the entire pro wrestling business last year that will set the stage for any future business he might want to do with “real Dons” like Vince McMahon and Triple H. And WWE definitely wants to do business with The Notorious One.
Mayweather, of course, participated in an entire WrestleMania program with Big Show in 2008, and has guest starred on Raw outside that. Triple H has also been a part of his entourage for fights in the past. His support of the 40 year old champ was the source of some public relations blowback when ESPN personality Michelle Beadle called him out for supporting someone who’s been convicted on domestic violence-related charges back in 2015. Beadle and WWE have mended fences, but the issue is still out there.
Last, but not least, former SmackDown play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo says he’ll call the fight*, which will be distributed on Showtime PPV, for whom Ranallo calls boxing.
Given these ties, it’ll be interesting to see how WWE tries to connect itself to the event. In the past, they’ve done things like touted their ties to boxers and mixed martial artists in big, culturally relevant fights, had wrestlers Tweet support of them and the like. Given the proximity to SummerSlam weekend and the controversies around their relationships with Mauro and Mayweather, that may be a bit trickier this time.
We shall see. One thing’s for sure... this whole thing is gonna be a hell of a spectacle.
* UPDATE: Mauro seems to be walking this back a bit on Twitter. He and many fans are lobbying for it, but he’s clarified it’s not official yet.