Franchise Thoughts: Floyd Mayweather to MMA?

I know the Christmas-New Year's season is almost upon us, but I checked the top headlines on ESPN.com tonight after coming home from work and had to check my calendar to make sure it didn't read April 1.

Many of you probably already saw it, but in case you didn't, here's the headline: "Mayweather mulls MMA move in deal with Cuban." Apparently, it's not a joke.

That's not to say that there isn't comedy to be found anywhere in the article. Check out this quote from Leonard Ellerbe, PBF's "adviser and best friend":
"Floyd is about taking on challenges," Ellerbe said. "This ain't some kind of prank. That is one of many things we've talked about with Mark. Floyd would have to take time to really understand it, but it is most definitely something he is interested in."
Um, right, Mayweather is all about the challenges. Ricky Hatton was the best welterweight he could have possibly fought, and the division is now cleaned out. Sorry Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams, Kermit Cintron, etc. You guys just don't provide any challenges for Floyd!

A more telling quote comes from Floyd's new best buddy - and Dancing With the Stars co-contestant - Mark Cuban:
"Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money."
Ah, now we've arrived at the truth. There's a reason Floyd wants to be called Money - he does, indeed, know how to market and follow the cash. He was savvy enough to sell the fight with Hatton as a big challenge, knowing inside it was a relatively low risk, because he knew it needed that element of danger to sell tickets and PPV buys.

And where is the money in fight sports right now? Why, mixed martial arts, of course. So in its own perverse way, it makes perfect sense that Mayweather may want to get involved.

There's nothing wrong with that, by the way. If Floyd is more interested in becoming the biggest star he can be, instead of trying to become the best boxer he can be, he's got every right to do it, and more power to him.

Let's not kid ourselves though. If Floyd ever steps into an MMA ring/cage/whatever, it will be on his terms just like everything in his recent career. The ESPN article references boxers like Ray Mercer and Frans Botha who tried MMA with little success, but I'm guessing a more apt comparison would be Tommy Morrison. "The Duke" participated in a fight in June that could only be called mixed martial arts using the very broadest definition - the special rules were tilted heavily in his favor - and his opponent was a nobody. A Mayweather event for HDNet Fights would likely be even more of a circus.

People would probably watch, maybe even lots of people, which would be a boon for both Floyd and Cuban. Hell, I might even watch, because this is BoxingWatchers.com, and Mayweather is the most naturally gifted boxer on the planet today.

At least, he is when he's not pushing his inner boxer to the back burner in favor of his inner star.

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