After recently ordering HBO solely to watch the new season of The Wire, I’ve finally gotten a chance to see the 24/7 documentary/hype series they did in advance of the Mayweather-Hatton fight. Though the fight itself seemed less than exciting, what with Mayweather throwing one punch at a time and then diving into the clinch for much of the fight, HBO knows how to put together a promo piece and make it look like a real documentary.I won’t go on and on about how much I wish there was an MMA version of 24/7, or how I wish HBO would get involved with our sport and bring their budget and high production values with them. That’s a given. I will say, though, that while I realize Mayweather is, in all likelihood, not going to cross over into MMA, at least as a fighter, I really wish he would, and not just so I could see him catch a beatdown.
We did interviews at the last IFL event where we asked all the fighters and coaches what they thought of Mayweather coming to MMA, and oddly enough the most interesting response came from Ken Shamrock. He said that because of the initial reaction — which, as you may recall, mostly called for Mayweather to fight Sean Sherk for his first bout — it will never happen, and that we’re the ones who are missing out. I think he has a point.
If MMA embraced Mayweather and made a real effort to get him and help bring him along, rather than throwing him to the wolves to prove a point, it would help everyone. Revenue and fighter salaries would benefit, there would be a greater and more diverse audience, and maybe some of the old guard sports editors who still think MMA is a passing fad would finally put down their cigars and fedoras and hammer out a positive story on their typewriters.
It’s not often that Ken Shamrock has the cooler head when it comes to thinking things through, but he’s right on target here. As much as we in the MMA world would love to see a top boxer get whooped on by an MMA fighter just to silence the people who’ve refused to accept our sport into the mainstream, we’d ultimately be better served by making it a more feasible transition.
That’s not to say that I think Mayweather will ever come to MMA. It looks like pure PR from where I’m sitting. But he should at least know that MMA would like to have him and would help him get started. Then, after he’s had a chance to get acclimated, we can let Sean Sherk plant him like an azalea.
Here’s the full video of IFL fighters and coaches answering the Mayweather question: