Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather stands a chance at becoming the most successful “money fight” of all time. MMA purists will balk at this. After all, MMA is a sport, and in sports the best fights should be the ones between the top two fighters, not the most marketable ones.
We are in the era of MMA as a star-generating business however, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Without legislation similar to the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform act, business will always trump sport. Now that a talent agency owns the UFC, this will only get worse.
“Money Fights” is a relatively recent term in combat sports, but one that has been used with increasing regularity. There have always been these types of money grabs mind you, it’s just that athletes and promoters have become far more open about their true motivations recently.
To honour the centuries old tradition of “money fights”, let’s take a look at 7 fights the public went completely nuts over.
7. Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II
If you went back in time to June 28th 1997 and told everyone at the MGM Grand that Mike Tyson would one day be a comedian and have his own show on Animal Planet, do you think they’d believe it?
At the time this fight was the largest grossing boxing main event ever. More people purchased this fight (1,990,000) than any other fight in Tyson’s career, although his fight with Lennox Lewis did gross more due to increased PPV cost.
What did Tyson do when he had nearly 2 million people watching his fight? In the 3rd round he committed the most infamous foul in boxing history when he bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.