So hey, did you hear there’s a big fight this Saturday?
What seemed like a pipe dream less than a year ago morphed into reality. Undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is stepping into the ring for what he claims is his last fight, against UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who’s never actually boxed professionally before. It’s mixed martial arts versus boxing, in a sense, when this fight takes place on Saturday, Aug. 26. It seems likely that bars and restaurants from coast to coast will be packed that night, as well as many a home will be filled with people who are willing to pay the ridiculous $100 cost to watch it.
But what if you’re not willing to increase your cable bill by $100 to watch this fight, or pay the equivalent of that in cover charges, beer and chicken wings at some bar? What else could you do with your time and/or money this Saturday? Although I went back and forth over this topic, I decided not to watch the fight on Aug. 26. It’s not out of any objection to the fight happening – as Michael Douglas so eloquently put it as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, greed is good. The fight between Mayweather and McGregor is guaranteed to generate tons of money, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But quite frankly, I don’t like crowds. I would not enjoy being jammed ass-to-elbow in some sports bar, surrounded by either casual fans who care little for boxing or MMA, or “fans” who profess some knowledge about either sport but actually just spew takes hot enough to make even Skip Bayless blush. While I wish good fortune to everyone who will watch Mayweather and McGregor likely just circle each other for 12 rounds, I’m here to share some ideas for what you can do instead.
1. Re-watch some of the best UFC fights from this year
From Chang Sung Jung knocking out Dennis Bermudez, to Kelvin Gastelum putting Vitor Belfort’s lights out, to the amazing battle between Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson, to the successful re-coronation of Jon Jones as the best fighter on the planet, 2017 has been filled with some memorable fights and finishes so far.
The fight between Mayweather and McGregor will likely not be the most exciting to watch. Mayweather has become a very defensive fighter in his later years and hasn’t knocked anyone out in nearly six years. McGregor is maybe the best counterpuncher in MMA and has multiple memorable knockouts on his resume, but is dealing with a new experience in boxing. As I said before, I expect both guys to spend the majority of this fight just circling each other and pepper each other with jabs. In MMA terms, this fight will probably make the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 look like the epic bout between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
So instead of watching a glorified sparring session, why not fire up your UFC Fight Pass (I’m sure you have one), and relive some actual exciting fights instead?
2. Record and watch Bellator 182
OK, OK. Stop laughing. The night before the fight between Mayweather and McGregor, Bellator MMA will hold its latest fight card on Spike. If you really want to see a slugfest with the very real possibility of a knockout, the fight between Fernando Gonzalez and Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 is right up your alley. Ward is a human highlight reel in Bellator, with multiple knockouts and submissions on his resume. The main event features former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov facing Chidi Njokuani, who’s undefeated in his Bellator career and could probably receive a title shot with a win over Koreshkov.
Even though Bellator 182 takes place prior to Mayweather/McGregor, you can always do what I tend to do. Record the card and watch it the next day. At least that way, you can fast forward through all the commercials and filler.
3. Donate $100 to a nonprofit of your choice
Instead of dropping $100 on a one-night event that may or may not meet your expectations, why not put that money to better use? There are numerous organizations that could use your support. Mayweather’s history of domestic violence is well-chronicled. So if you feel particularly compelled to take a stand against this fight taking place, donating to a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence might be a good start. For example, this GoFundMe fundraising campaign by Twitter user FitnessByBlue to benefit Women’s Aid Ireland (where McGregor hails from, coincidentally enough).
4. Watch GLORY 44
Mayweather facing McGregor won’t be the only game in town that weekend. The combat sports world won’t come to a complete standstill while those two settle their nonexistent differences. If you have UFC Fight Pass, you can watch some of the best kickboxers the world has to offer at GLORY 44: Superfight Series. The thing is, the card also takes place the night before Mayweather/McGregor, on Friday, Aug. 25. But if you own UFC Fight Pass, that (presumably) means you can watch it anytime. So perhaps you can take your significant other out for a night on the town this Friday, and settle in the next night to watch boxing of a different sort – which also won’t cost you $100.
5. Indulge in some local flavor
Ultimately, you could just decide to just take a break from combat sports for a weekend. Go out and about and visit a museum. Take in a baseball game. Check out a food or beer festival (or both). What do I plan to do instead of watching Mayweather/McGregor? For starters, I’m planning to attend a beer festival a short walk from my home, with the promise of numerous local, craft beers available for my enjoyment. After that, I plan to mosey on over to a brewery located near where I live (yes, I live within walking distance of a brewery. Be jealous) and sample their tasty wares.
If the fight between Mayweather and McGregor represents your pinnacle as a combat sports fan and is not to be missed, then more power to you. But for everyone else, hopefully this list of alternative suggestions can hold you over while everyone else flocks to the bar or to their own TV screens the night of Saturday, Aug. 26, to watch an event that may not exactly live up to its monumental expectations.
Image Credit: Complex Sports