The biggest and most predictable commercial event in combat sports history was held in Las Vegas Saturday.
Boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather knocked out mixed martial artist and boxing debutant Conor McGregor in a 10-round knockout.
The fight held significance for Mayweather, who cemented himself among boxing’s elite by earning a 50-0 career record, with 26 of those wins being knockouts.
After the fight, Mayweather subsequently retired, earning a modest $200 million and becoming a member of the billion-dollar athletes club. McGregor also tripled his net worth by taking home just over $100 million.
These massive paychecks manifested from almost nothing, as it was only six months ago when the fight was nothing but a mere fantasy in the eyes of promotion experts. But as speculation of the fight ensued, fantasy started to merge with reality.
The fight itself minimally impacted the legacies of both competitors’ careers. Mayweather and McGregor are arguably the best in their respective combat sports.
The marketing and promotion of this fight, however, led to multiple broken records in revenue and viewership and created one of the most intriguing boxing matchups of all time.
It’s a testament to the business acumen in all marketing departments by Mayweather Promotions, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and pay-per-view rights holders Showtime.
There were months of television press conferences and tours, days of repetitive analysis and millions of dollars in advertising that were invested into this event.
Master promoter and UFC president Dana White was McGregor’s right-hand man throughout the nationwide promotional tour.
With hours of weekly coverage on the UFC channels and numerous advertisement deals, White and the UFC convinced millions that McGregor held the keys to the kingdom.
In addition, Mayweather’s promotional tactics and financial track record, combined with the meteoric rise of mixed martial arts and the UFC, made this a fight for the ages.
The impact this fight will have on the trajectory of combat sports across the world remains to be seen. McGregor, who said he will return to boxing, is entering his prime and is poised to take Mayweather’s place as the world’s most talented and sought after fighter.