Mayweather and Cuban: Match Made in Heaven?

Written by Tom Ngo
December 22nd, 2007

The onetime opponents from “Dancing with the Stars,” now look to partner up together and take on the MMA world together.  ESPN.com reported late Friday that after a productive meeting between the two, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is making serious considerations on making the jump from Boxing Champion to MMA fighter.  If this happens, the fight would take place on HDNet Fights, which is owned by Billionaire extraordinaire Mark Cuban.

Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather’s adviser and best friend, told ESPN.com Friday that,  “It’s definitely something he is interested in, and when Floyd makes his move, obviously it’s going to be a mega event.  We don’t have a timetable. Floyd is taking some time off, but Floyd understands what is involved. You have to take time to go out and understand what you’re getting involved in, and he’s ready to do that. But it’s something he’s definitely interested in doing.”

Ellerbe further added, “Mark Cuban is a very successful business man and has some very, very successful business ventures that we’ve discussed. We’re looking to do a lot of business with Mark. He’s a great guy, and we had a great meeting. Doing an MMA event with him is most definitely something we are looking at, among many things we are looking at doing with Mark Cuban.”

The two powerhouses seemed to make a connection as they competed against one another on ABC’s hit show, “Dancing with the Stars.”  Mayweather has made over $50 Million in salary over his last two fights, not counting any PPV bonuses, one of which included his bout against Oscar De La Joya which set an all time PPV record with 2.4 Million buys.

“Floyd is considering fighting with HDNet Fights,” Cuban told ESPN.com. “We are going to let him visit some gyms to talk to some folks about what it would take to learn. He knows it won’t be easy. But he is getting involved with MMA and HDNet Fights one way or another. He is pumped about it. He wants to go on to the next big thing. Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money.”

Cuban, the highly successful business man has never been one to shy away from taking chances in the hopes of making an impact, told ESPN, “If I said there’s a guaranteed $30 million payday, Floyd would be lacing them up,” Cuban stated. “If not, I could see him working to train and develop and invest in MMA fighters, knowing the upside. He can teach them how to be a better boxer and add to their other skills.”

Mayweather has stated after his last three fights, all of which resulted in “W’s” for the 5-Division Boxing Champ, that he feels that he has accomplished all that there is to accomplish as a Boxer and is headed for retirement.  Ellerbe said that Mayweather has now left on vacation for the Holidays, but they will discuss this blockbuster move in greater detail when he returns.

Many wonder how realistic this opportunity is? Could this just be anther ploy by Mayweather in the hopes of leveraging MMA against Boxing for a larger payday against up and coming Boxers such as Miguel Cotto (31-0)  or Paul Williams (33-0)?  For me personally, the primary concern about this jump is that headline MMA fighters make nowhere near the money that superstar Boxers, such as Mayweather, command.  Mayweather has never made any bones about his admiration for money, and has certainly never been shy of flaunting what he has.  I mean, one of his nicknames is “Money” Mayweather.

Ellerbe seemed to have a different perspecitve on the situation, however. “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.”

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