mma / Columns

Lambert: May-Mac Press Tour Does More Harm Than Good

July 15, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather traveled to four cities in four days. Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn, and London all hosted a leg of the #MayMac Press Tour. The four days were designed to hype the biggest fight since Commodus vs. Maximus.

People expected to the two combatants to trade barbs and get fans excited for their Aug. 26 clash. Both are known as charismatic trash talkers who excel at whipping the crowd into a frenzy. McGregor is quick-witted and sharp tongued. Mayweather is flashy and easy to hate. Putting them on stage with a live mic for four straight days would be a license to print even more money when they finally laced up the gloves.

Instead, the press tour turned into a clown show. McGregor ran out of steam by the end of day two and Mayweather looked uncomfortable in the element. McGregor was accused of being racist with his “dance for me, boy” comments and Mayweather decided to drop a homophobic slur on the final day. McGregor recycled the same material throughout the four day tour. Mayweather never bothered to come up with material.

Yeeeaaaah.

It was bad.

Nothing that happened this past week made me want to see the fight more. It’s already a fight between one of the greatest boxers of all-time and a guy who zero professional boxing experience. On paper, it’s a gigantic mismatch that shouldn’t be sanctioned. The idea this week wasn’t to sell people on the fight being competitive. It was to sell people on the two personalities.

Conor was the underdog looking to make history by jumping to boxing and defeating a man who is undefeated in 49 professional fights. Mayweather is the empire that you want to see destroyed. The goal was to get you to pick a side. Do you want to tune in to see the underdog make history? Or do you want to tune in to see the evil empire reign supreme again?

It feels like they tuned a lot of fans out with their performances this week.

If McGregor was trying to sell everyone that he has a chance, he failed. He looked disheartened by some of Mayweather’s comments, especially when Mayweather said to Dana White, “we’re using these foreign fighters to make money.” Sure, McGregor had the crowd on his side. But the crowd was always going to be on his side. Mayweather is one of the least likable personalities in sports history. It’s how he’s made so much money in his career. Conor hurt his underdog stock by coming off as a racist (whether intentional or not) and looking “gotten to” by Mayweather’s comments and flag disrespecting. All he had to do was make some witty comebacks and smile, knowing that he’s playing with house money and has nothing to lose come fight night. He couldn’t even do that right. Conor managed to talk himself into the fight, but couldn’t talk himself up to the fight.

Mayweather didn’t really sell anything. His “hard work” “dedication” chant fell on deaf ears. No one pointed to the easy work. He was met with “pay your taxes” and “shut up” chants. He had the very definition of “go away” heat. Mayweather continued to be the villain, but no one believed in the hero.

Mayweather and McGregor are both charismatic and witty individuals. They wouldn’t draw the kind of attention that they do if they didn’t have some sort of “it” factor to them. But it only works in the right setting. Mayweather is great at being himself in the gym and at his home, surrounded by yes-men and money. McGregor is great at being himself in short bursts when he’s able to play off his fellow competitors. Giving both men a mic and asking them to do a 10-minute stand-up routine for four straight days was never going to work. They’re fighters, not comedians.

The fight will still do gangbuster numbers on pay-per-view. It’ll be the highest selling pay-per-view of all-time. By the time Aug. 26 rolls around, we’ll have forgotten everything that happened this past week. But it doesn’t change the fact that both men embarrassed themselves on this press conference tour.

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