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On Saturday, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will meet in the boxing ring for the biggest fighting spectacle of the year.
While experts don’t give McGregor much of a chance against one of the best-ever defensive boxers, the public seems to believe in him – some sportsbooks report that 95% of their bettors have put their money on McGregor.
But there’s one group that thinks McGregor will be so overmatched that the fight should never have been sanctioned in the first place: the Association of Ringside Physicians.
According to a New York Times report, the group, which has more than 100 members, was surprised the Nevada State Athletic Commission approved the fight:
“‘We were very surprised this bout was even sanctioned and was going to be permitted to carry on,’ said Larry Lovelace, a doctor and the president of the organization, which is focused on preserving fighter safety. ‘The thing I really fear, truly fear, is that somebody’s going to get really hurt in this upcoming fight.'”
The group’s concern is well-founded. Despite McGregor’s skill as a fighter, much of his learned skills are likely to be useless in the boxing ring, as he won’t be able to grapple, wrestle, throw elbows, or use any other “mixed” aspect of mixed martial arts. At the same time, Mayweather has 20 years’ worth of boxing instincts, and he has defeated every fighter he’s ever faced, all of whom have boxing experience.
As the article notes, there’s precedent for MMA fighters getting injured in the boxing ring. In June, the UFC veteran Tim Hague died two days after being knocked out in the second round of his fourth career boxing match.
The Times article also acknowledged the inherent conflict of interest that commissions have when they set up fights:
“The Nevada commission has a particularly large financial stake in the Mayweather-McGregor bout. The state receives 8 percent of the gross revenue from every ticket sold at a boxing event in Nevada, and the commission gets 25 percent of that amount.
“Leonard Ellerbe, the chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, and Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, have told reporters that over $60 million in tickets have been sold for the fight, which means Nevada stands to receive in excess of $4.8 million, with the athletic commission’s cut topping $1.2 million.”
Regardless of the concerns of the Association of Ringside Physicians, there’s no stopping Mayweather and McGregor from duking it out in the ring this Saturday. The main card is set to kick off at 9 p.m. ET, with the headline fight expected about two hours after that.