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Now that I am back on U.S. soil after a long and disappointing trip to Tokyo, I now have the time to address you, my fans and the media in regard to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced. First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa. In fact (with all due respect) I have never heard of him until this recent trip to Japan. Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the "Rizen Fighting Federation". What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of "One Entertainment" was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a "Special Bout" purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide. Once I arrived to the press conference, my team and I were completely derailed by the new direction this event was going and we should have put a stop to it immediately. I want to sincerely apologize to my fans for the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference and I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry. I am a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sherdog.com, its affiliates and sponsors or its parent company, Evolve Media.
OzoneX asks: Why would Floyd have risked a bigger payday vs a top UFC talent by fighting an unknown in Rizin? Does a fight with Khabib or a Conor rematch happen if Floyd lost in December?
First off, let’s just be thankful that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Tenshin Nasukawa bout was only a brief gust of wind that eventually will become the answer to a trivia question. With that out of the way, let’s be clear about our verbiage. The last word that should be used to describe Mayweather’s career for the better part of the past decade is “risk.”
Since establishing himself as the biggest financial draw in the combat sports world and embodying a more appropriate nickname, “Money” Mayweather has seldom risked his empire or undefeated record. Look no further than opponents such as an undersized Juan Manuel Marquez and a clearly outmatched Robert Guerrero to show how many times he has put himself in competitive jeopardy. There’s no reason to think the Rizin New Year’s Eve show would’ve been any different.
Make no mistakes about it: if Nasukawa, who is an undefeated kickboxer and MMA fighter, and Mayweather met under anything other than boxing-centered rules he would be annihilated. Mayweather is very intelligent and well aware of what advantages and disadvantages he holds. Therefore the many delays that held up the Manny Pacquiao fight, and closing out his legitimate boxing career against Andre Berto.
For someone who is notorious for negotiating the slightest of details ahead of his bouts to gain every sliver of advantage possible, the idea that Mayweather would entertain the possibility of getting flatlined by a Nasukawa shin to the dome after having his legs hacked away is laughable. But let’s say he did find a way to lose after stacking every bit of the rules and circumstances in his favor, would he be risking bigger paydays against Khabib Nurmagomedov or Conor McGregor? Absolutely not. If anything, those fights would become ever larger following a mixed rules defeat to Nasukawa.
A return to boxing against either the former or current UFC lightweight champion would have even more buzz around it for several reasons. First, it’s Mayweather and fight fans will be eager to see if he could redeem himself in his preferred sport. Second, Nurmagomedov and especially McGregor would bring their own fanfare along with questions of what was possible after seeing Mayweather end up in the loss column for the first time since his days as an Olympian. Of course it would take a sucker to fall for the gimmick. But let’s be completely honest with ourselves, Mayweather has turned all fight fans into suckers at least once. If he fought in Rizin or had another go at a UFC superstar, he would do it at least one more time.
Europe1 asks: What do you make about all this talk of the UFC ditching the Flyweight division? Is it something you could see happen to other divisions as well, or do you think that the UFC will move in the other direction and instead open up new divisions (ex: 165?)
I’m simply not a fan of the reported dissolution of the flyweight division. The 125ers consistently bring superior technique and blinding speed at an unrelenting pace. While I recognize that there’s a vocal group of fans that don’t like watching the smallest weight class in the UFC, but I find them immensely entertaining and representative of what makes MMA athletically compelling. Dropping a fully-formed division just seems shortsighted. While I could go on about the failure to promote Demetrious Johnson as a dominant champion, the flyweights seem to just be lacking that one star that could change the tide. Ironically, as Henry Cejudo ascends to the throne oozing star potential and the highly sought after Mexican fan base, the division is given the boot.
The fact that this comes just before the start of a new TV deal with more events needing more fighters to fill spots on the expected 42 cards in 2019 makes it seem even more ill advised. Tossing an entire division when injuries and scheduling have already stretched the roster thin seems completely counterproductive.
Don’t expect this chopping-block mentality to extend itself to other fleshed out weight classes, though. The schedule simply can’t manage dropping more talent. Also, more anticipated matchups are awaiting in nearly every other division. Of course, the push for a 165-pound addition is strong. Fighters and fans are vocally supporting it and the UFC could certainly find good use for its existence.
The problem is that simply swapping one division for the other wouldn’t necessarily add much relief to the scheduling issue. The junior welterweight weight class wouldn’t add new fighters. It would only shuffle some from lightweight and welterweight.
If there’s any other weight division that could get dropped it has be women’s featherweight. That’s simply because it isn’t actually a functioning group of logically ranked fighters. It’s Cris Cyborg, possibly Megan Anderson, and then whichever bantamweight decides to skip their weight cut.
BJJHerrera asks: in your opinion, is there any likelihood that either Diaz bro fights again soon or ever for that matter, and if so, who would you speculate would be their potential opponents?
I think it’s very likely that we’ll see the Diaz brothers fight again. Trying to pinpoint a time that the 209 is represented in the Octagon again is a little less of a sure thing to me. Their reputation for bucking the system and playing by their own rules has developed a cult following for both Nick and Nate long before any higher-up at the UFC recognized their appeal and had a single idea of how to market them. Unfortunately, that attitude has extended to the negotiation table as both brothers have turned down multiple fight offers.
It’s been years since either Nick or Nate has competed. We haven’t seen Nate since dropping a close decision to McGregor at UFC 202. We were just a stone’s throw from seeing him return last weekend at UFC 230 until Dustin Poirier withdrew due to injury. However, expect to see Nate whenever McGregor decides it’s time to pull the trigger on their trilogy fight. There’s too much money and personal stakes on the table for Nate not to answer that call.
Nick, on the other hand, hasn’t been seen since his eventual no-contest versus Anderson Silva at UFC 183. He hasn’t seen victory since pummeling an overmatched B.J. Penn at UFC 137 seven years ago. At what point do we just move on and stop inserting him into the current landscape? After a nearly-four year layoff, I wouldn’t expect much from Nick especially if matched up with most of the top names in a welterweight division that has greatly evolved since he last had his hand raised. I’d prefer to see him return against Robbie Lawler so we can at least get that rematch. The contrast of his Brazilian jiu jitsu skills with the top game grappling of Ben Askren could make for an interesting fight as well. Perhaps the loser of the upcoming 233 matchup between Askren and Lawler would be the best option. Just don’t get your hopes up.