After months of back-and-forth battles over Twitter, name-calling, and trash talk going both ways, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather may actually be close to getting in the ring together.
The superstar boxer and promoter said the fight is “getting very, very close,” in a conversation with ESPN’s First Take host Stephen A. Smith on Saturday night at the Oklahoma City-Golden State Warriors game.
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 14, 2017
UPDATE (1:00 PM ET): The talks between the McGregor and Mayweather camps are real, the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed to ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto:
Breaking: NSAC chairman Marnell confirms there have been "real discussions" with "the real players involved" on McGregor vs. Mayweather.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 14, 2017
On Monday, the Irish Sun and The Mirror both reported that a fight was getting closer to happening, but had no real concrete information about a deal. Those papers reported that McGregor pulled out of a fan event in Ireland and was reportedly flying to Las Vegas, fueling rumors about the potential fight.
Mayweather, ever the keen self-promoter, then decided to fan those flames in his conversation with Smith.
The boxer hedged his bets by saying that there’s no guarantee a fight will happen until a deal is signed, but this is the closest that either Mayweather or McGregor has gotten to saying that the bout will happen.
UFC president Dana White got very publicly involved in the discussions by offering $25 million to each of the fighters, but he also said he doubted a deal would get done. Mayweather mocked both White and McGregor at various times, including making fun of the UFC fighter’s net worth compared to his, only adding to the speculation that a fight would go down at some point.
While nothing is set in stone, it looks like Mayweather is preparing to step into the ring against “The Notorious.”