mma / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Why Did Conor McGregor Get a Boxing License?

December 7, 2016 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
Conor McGregor

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is always a great pleasure to bring you the 411 on the fact and fiction in the greatest sport of them all, mixed martial arts. And thank you for your votes and comments last week. It is appreciated and I encourage you to vote and leave your comments this week. Last week, Scott “Kuch” Kuczkowski returned to action against the gritty Alex Rella. Alex was looking to finally pick up a “w,” and boy did he! Both competitors pressed forward, blasting stinging combinations from the get go. It was Alex who made them count as he battered Scott early, taking the lead, and never turning back. Nonetheless, what an exciting contest it was as they traded barbs over Conor McGregor relinquishing his featherweight title, Ryan Bader leaving the UFC in search of gold, and AKA and its long list of injuries in addition to more. Congratulations Alex on your 22-to-14 victory, and thank you both for your efforts and contributions.

This week, we have a contest sure to awaken the gods of thunder and lightning! Mark Radulich is looking to avenge his loss to the undefeated Dino Zee. Mark, has shown up with a new gameplan he hopes will unravel Dino as they discuss what the newly formed MMA Athletes Association will accomplish compared to other associations, Conor McGregor acquiring a boxing license, who should be next for Demetrious Johnson, and much more! Well, let’s kick this Christmas season off with a bang! Grab some grub, make yourself comfortable, because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s get the ball rolling…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Dino “Salad Bar” Zee
Contributor, 411 Wrestling Zone
4-0-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Mark “Headshrinker” Radulich
Supreme Overlord,
Radulich in Broadcasting Network

3-2-0


The MMA Athletes Association will accomplish little more than what the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association has already accomplished.

Dino Zee: FACT If that, even. This could almost be a Fiction, but I’m going Fact just to hedge my bets. The problem with the MMA Athletes Association is that, unlike the MMAFA, it exists only to help the UFC fighters. So, if you’re in Bellator, WSOF… you can pretty much piss off, the MMAAA has decided. For that reason alone (it’s seriously small scope), there’s a chance that they don’t even cover ground that the MMAFA has covered. Still, the “little more” leaves room for them to actually get something done, which is something the MMAFA has yet to do.

There’s the snarky counterpoint that neither will get anything done, sure, but as for the question asked, I think it’s a fact. Focusing only on the UFC is a simple, self-serving move by the MMAAA.

Mark Radulich: FACT In the interest of fairness, this is not a subject I know a whole lot about. Well before I sat down to type these words I tried my best to research the subject and then think about what my answer might be. In the end, I found an article on Yahoo Sports that summarizes my position rather nicely. If you boil this subject down to brass tacks, it goes back to supply and demand. I’ve said this before in this very column space, as long as the UFC or any other promotion can get fighters to ply their trade on their shows for the money they are willing to pay, nobody has to listen to any of the now 3 associations that have come into existence. They might be able to get Congress to extend the Ali Act to MMA but then again, money talks. Despite efforts to “drain the swamp” there aren’t too many realistic ways to limit lobbying in Washington. So let’s say MMAAA or the MMAFA attempt to pour some cash into Washington to get the Ali Act extended to MMA, the UFC will pour money into preventing it, and probably win. Look how long it took for MMA to become legalized in NY. In that instance, the bigger, stronger, more connected union was able to keep the UFC out of NY well past the point when rational politicians were fine with the sport of MMA. The bottom line is this is; fractured fighter associations clamoring for fighter dollars are a house divided against itself. If these organizations don’t form one strong union to represent all potential MMA fighters then there isn’t much of a chance of any of them accomplishing anything of note. A personal victory here and there for this or that fighter, maybe – but in general, nothing much at all.


WME-IMG has the money and insiders to ensure H.R. 5365, the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act, does not get signed into law.

Dino Zee: FACT Sure, I’ll say they have the money and insiders for it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’ll work. Truth be told, I’m just not so big into the business side of things, and so I’m not totally up to snuff on this question. I will say, though, that as a fan of MMA, I hope the Ali Expansion Act is signed into law, and leave it at that. Apologies for the short answer on this one, guys, but it’s all I’ve got to say on the matter.

Mark Radulich: FACT My initial reaction when I read this was a hearty chortle. “Of course the WME-IMG could block this, don’t be absurd,” I thought to myself. But then I remembered life has a habit of surprising you when you least expect so I did a bit of research first: “H.R. 5365 — 114th Congress: Muhammad Ali Expansion Act.” www.GovTrack.us. 2016. December 6, 2016 Folks, this thing is still “in committee.” In other words, “This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on May 26, 2016, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.” It’s been in committee since May of this year. It hasn’t moved. It’s not going anywhere. Don’t believe me? OK, per Govtrack website: Prognosis: 1% chance of being enacted according to PredictGov.com which states, “The overall text of the bill decreases its chances of being enacted. The bill’s primary sponsor is a Republican. The bill is assigned to the House Education and the Workforce committee. The bill’s primary subject is Sports and recreation.”

Yes legislation takes time and usually a lot of debate but this is not exactly the Affordable Care Act. It’s a fairly simple task relative to the kinds of laws Congress typically has to deal with. And yet, there it sits. And of course just as soon as the thing was introduced, Frontiers of Freedom ran out to defeat it. Here’s just a sample of a letter they wrote in opposition, “This legislation, among its many faults, tramples the traditional prerogatives of the states to regulate contracts and sporting events and is of dubious constitutionality. And, what can only be viewed as bizarre, the bill would enlist government bureaucrats to rank fighters and conduct matchmaking which is currently done exceptionally well by the private sector.

The nation faces many daunting challenges including a national debt that is approaching $20 trillion, a stagnating economy and wages, skyrocketing Obamacare costs, and terrorist enemies who seek to end our very existence. Federally regulating the MMA market, which is not broken and represents a true American success story, should not be given any serious attention by lawmakers.”

So let’s do some math here; we have a Republican controlled congress as of this January coming on board, led by a “business minded” newly elected president who apparently is also a fan of the UFC. Maybe they’ll see the argument that this is not a case where “the free market” should have absolute rule but I’m failing to remember a time when a largely Republican-controlled American government didn’t resist regulation and government intervention unless it suited their specific needs. If I’m wrong about that, please (politely) let me know in the comments.


Conor McGregor acquired a boxing license as leverage in negotiations with the UFC and to keep his name fresh in our minds and not necessarily to pursue professional boxing.

Dino Zee: FACT I think this is a pretty transparent case, too. Conor does what he wants, and it’s like that because 98% of the time, the UFC allows it. Now, we saw with UFC 200 and his current holding two belts that once in awhile, the UFC will remember that it only cares about itself, and will do what’s best for the three letters. I think Conor has finally realized that as well, and so all this talk about boxing Floyd, and getting the license… it’s all posturing. That’s not to say it’s hollow – he could very well pursue a fight in the boxing ring if he so desires wading through that legal muck – but I’d wager that at the end of the day, that license is much more about securing higher payouts from the UFC than it is about his desire to be a professional boxer.

Mark Radulich: FACT This is one of those times where having to choose between strictly “Fact” or “Fiction” becomes a bit difficult. Here’s the thing, I don’t think Conor McGregor is trying to “pursue professional boxing” as a career per se. I think he’d like to participate in a novelty/attraction boxing exhibition. There is a difference between the two. McGregor probably had any number of ulterior motives in acquiring a boxing license. At a minimum, if he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather in some sort of circus fight (which I approve of) he needs a license and there’s no getting around that, no matter what else he’s thinking. Beyond participating in this sort of gaga, I’m sure having a boxing license gives him more leverage than he already had in negotiating with the UFC. Lastly, sure, staying in the public eye and not having to put your body at risk is always a plus.


SWITCH!

Though Conor McGregor is out of the picture, you still want to see him rematch Jose Aldo and Max Holloway and he should.

Mark Radulich: FICTION No more for me thanks, I’m driving. McGregor is the right size for Lightweight. He’s fine right where he is. He won the belt off of Alvarez and now he needs to defend it. That’s all I care about. Between Aldo’s constant injuries and the last fight ending rather unceremoniously, I care not to see it again. I’d rather see the winner of Holloway vs Pettis against Aldo (and then I’d like Aldo to go away and play soccer in Brazil forever). In the meantime, let’s get on with McGregor vs Nurmagomedov already.

Dino Zee: FICTION With Aldo, I agree 100%, I’m not sure about Holloway. I say that as a big fan of Holloway, too. The Aldo fight, one-sided as it was, left me wanting to see them do it again. I don’t question Conor’s win over Aldo, I don’t put any type of asterisk on it, nothing like that. He called how the fight would go, and it went exactly that way. It was impressive as fuck. Still, it was a 13-second win, and I just don’t see that happening again. Add to that Aldo’s years of dominance, and I think that the McGregor rematch should absolutely happen.

Holloway, on the other hand… with Conor no longer holding the belt, I don’t see the “should” in this one. Holloway lost a decision to Conor years ago, but Conor also blew his knee out early in the fight and still handled Max with relative ease. Since he’s no longer the champ at 145, Holloway’s win streak and wins over other 145ers are no longer relevant pieces of evidence as to why he deserves a rematch with Conor. I’d say that if Max wants that rematch, he’ll either need to win the 145 title and go for a superfight with Conor, or just move to 155 and earn it. I should also clarify that I’m not against seeing Holloway/Conor 2, I just don’t necessarily think it’s a fight that “should” happen.


Demetrious Johnson’s next fight should be a super fight against the winner of the next bantamweight championship scrap, a bout between Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt.

Mark Radulich: FACT Well, specifically, I think a rematch between him and Cruz would be both preferable and dandy. I suppose if Garbrandt actually wins the title I can’t argue against him either. If anyone actually deserves a “superfight” champ-vs-champ-type fight it’s Mighty Mouse. He has unquestionably cleaned out Flyweight. More so than any other fighter clamoring for money-weight fights, Johnson has actually earned the right to challenge another opponent at a different weight class including the champ, whomever he may be. Best of luck to one of the best in the world.

Dino Zee: FICTION With every fiber of my being, I believe this is a Fiction. Mighty Mouse’s next fight should be him attempting to tie Anderson Silva’s record of title defenses, period. There’s no need to mess around with anything else, even *if* he’s cleared out the division. Going for the Bantamweight title is intriguing, sure, but it doesn’t carry the same weight as Mighty Mouse chasing the record many felt was never going to be touched. And then after that, you have him defend once more to set the new record. There shouldn’t be any other plan of attack for the 125 pound champion until he’s got the record, in my not-so-expert opinion.


With the amount of fighters currently under contract, the UFC can not feasibly cut too many events.

Mark Radulich: FACT I’ve covered this before, they are under contract to FOX as well as some of the hotels in Vegas to produce X amount of shows/content per year. Even if their entire roster vanished from Earth they’d still have to figure out something in order to honor their contracts. Yes, they also have to meet their obligations to the fighters for Y amount of bouts per fighter. Overall, they can’t afford to cut too many shows across the board for a variety of reasons including but not limited to contract stipulations and need to produce revenue.

Dino Zee: FACT Only if we’re assuming that they can’t make giant roster cuts to minimize the bloat, then yes, I’d call this a Fact. You don’t want to have fighters sitting around 6-10 months waiting for fights, and if we trimmed the event calendar back too far, that’s where we’d be. As much as I love this sport, I do sometimes get the feeling that there’s just too many events, with the large majority coming from the UFC. Yet, there I am, watching each and every one that I possibly can, and if we’re watching, then they can continue to put on their high volume of events, and to have that many cards, you need a giant roster.


So who won? Was Mark able to avenge his loss, or does Dino have his number? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today but, as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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