Opinion: Dana White’s $25 million offer to Floyd Mayweather is laughable

Will Floyd Mayweather come out of retirement to box UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor? Well at the very least, it won’t be for $25…

By: Mookie Alexander | 7 years ago
Opinion: Dana White’s $25 million offer to Floyd Mayweather is laughable
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Will Floyd Mayweather come out of retirement to box UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor? Well at the very least, it won’t be for $25 million + PPV points, which is what Dana White offered the boxing legend. Mayweather’s response was simply to call Dana “a f—king comedian,” a description which is made even more accurate based off of White’s stand-up set on Lookin’ For a Fight.

To the regular MMA fan who’s ignorant of boxing, let alone the business side of it, this is an incredible amount of money being offered up by Dana, who also noted that McGregor would also be getting the same deal. That’s a record payday for Conor, and that’s before factoring the cut of the PPV revenue he’d receive. White believes that this hypothetical matchup should be able to pull at least 2 million buys, which would otherwise be an all-time record for anything promoted by the UFC.

The problem we have here is that while $25 million + PPV % for McGregor (or any UFC fighter who has ever been a major draw) is a financial upgrade, it’s a clear downgrade for Mayweather.

I think the best way to understand Mayweather’s scoffing at White’s offer is to outline just how much money Mayweather has made as an established pay-per-view draw. Floyd made that jump to superstar status following his May 2007 fight vs. Oscar De La Hoya, in which Oscar was the A-side, so that will be our starting point.

Floyd Mayweather’s PPV numbers (2007-2015)

(Date) (Opponent) (Estimated PPV buyrate) (Estimated domestic PPV revenue) (Guaranteed purse) (Mayweather’s estimated total earnings)
(Date) (Opponent) (Estimated PPV buyrate) (Estimated domestic PPV revenue) (Guaranteed purse) (Mayweather’s estimated total earnings)
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya 2,400,000 $134,000,000 $10,000,000 $25,000,000
December 8, 2007 Ricky Hatton 920,000 $47,000,000 $11,000,000 $25,000,000
September 18, 2009 Juan Manuel Marquez 1,100,000 $52,000,000 $10,000,000 $25,000,000
May 1, 2010 Shane Mosley 1,400,000 $78,300,000 $22,500,000 $40,000,000
September 17, 2011 Victor Ortiz 1,250,000 $78,440,000 $25,000,000 $40,000,000
May 5, 2012 Miguel Cotto 1,500,000 $94,000,000 $32,000,000 $45,000,000
May 4, 2013 Robert Guerrero 870,000 $32,000,000 $34,000,000
September 14, 2013 Canelo Alvarez 2,200,000 $150,000,000 $41,500,000 $100,000,000
May 3, 2014 Marcos Maidana 900,000 $32,000,000 $40,000,000
September 13, 2014 Marcos Maidana 925,000 $32,000,000 $40,000,000
May 2, 2015 Manny Pacquiao 4,600,000 $437,000,000 $220,000,000 $220,000,000
September 12, 2015 Andre Berto 400,000 $32,000,000

Note: Columns left blank mean there are no reputable, verifiable sources for those estimates.

Note 2: The Pacquiao “guaranteed” purse was based on a previously agreed upon 60-40 split of the fight’s revenue.

It’s been six years since Mayweather’s base purse was as low as $25 million, and he’s earned at least $32 million in every fight since his unanimous decision win over Shane Mosley in 2010. Unsurprisingly, apart from the De La Hoya fight — Oscar earned $52 million, by the way — Mayweather’s three biggest buyrates netted him his largest paydays.

The figures seen in the table don’t even delve into the various avenues Mayweather has turned into a source of income for himself and Mayweather Promotions. Check out these excerpts from 2011 and 2014, respectively.

September 2011 (prior to the Victor Ortiz fight) – New York Times

“It’s never been done,” Mayweather, who is 41-0, said about his financial model. “Not in entertainment history. Not in sports history. You see that arena Saturday? It’s all Mayweather money. Want a hot dog? Mayweather money. Want a T-shirt? Mayweather money. I need all that.”

September 2014 (prior to the second Marcos Maidana fight) – Washington Post

“[Leonard] Ellerbe and adviser Al Haymon tore up the blueprint on boxing economics, and now Mayweather essentially functions as his own promoter, which puts him in position to pocket $70 million or more off a single fight. Mayweather Promotions makes money off every ticket, beer and hot dog sold in the MGM Grand, every pay-per-view sale, every movie theater providing a closed-circuit broadcast, not to mention lucrative foreign rights. Forbes has named Mayweather the top-earning athlete in the world.”

Essentially, Floyd Mayweather’s business model suits Floyd Mayweather very well, and there isn’t a chance in hell that the UFC is ever going to let any fighter on its roster even sniff half of what Mayweather has managed.

The odds of McGregor vs. Mayweather actually happening are fairly low, but let’s play pretend and say that there is a clear path paved to make the fight via the UFC. Does anyone foresee Floyd willing to cede promotional control, or the UFC co-promoting with Mayweather Promotions? No? Didn’t think so. Would Mayweather accept being a B-side — remember, Dana said “for him to think that he’s a much bigger star than Conor isn’t true” — when he’s not been one for ten years? During that span, Mayweather opponents have consistently earned substantially less than him, even if it’s their own personal career payday. There’s a reason why Mayweather threw out a split of $100 million for himself and $15 million + PPV points for McGregor.

When Dana predicts a buyrate of over 2 million but offers Mayweather his lowest purse since 2011, of course you’ll get the “f—king comedian” retort. He’s used to raking in the lion’s share of the profits, and there is absolutely zero reason for him to come out of retirement and play second fiddle to anyone.

As an actual sporting contest, McGregor offers absolutely nothing for Mayweather in the boxing ring, unless you hold such an embarrassingly high opinion of McGregor’s pugilistic skills. At the negotiating table, Dana White and the UFC do not have the advantage over one of the richest athletes of all-time.

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About the author
Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

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