What Mayweather Promotions CEO really meant when he told us 'mind your (expletive) business'

Speaking to reporters during a media day on Thursday to promote Floyd Mayweathers bout with Conor McGregor, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe launched into a monologue that was part sales pitch, part defense, with all of it familiar to anyone whos followed the UFC for any length of time.
We appreciate all the fans, Ellerbe said. We dont ever want to turn our back on anyone. But, again, the hardcore fans are the reason why our sport isnt where football and basketball are. Its because we stay in our own little box. Its like, you tell me whats wrong with these two guys fighting? If you dont want to watch it, dont buy it simple as that. But you cant be mad and going out there like some media members and promoting, Oh this is why you shouldnt buy the fight, and this and that. Mind your (expletive) business.
Did you get all that? Because its a lot to take in, even if MMA fans have heard most of it often in some of the exact same words from people like UFC President Dana White. Its some stream-of-consciousness accidental insight into the mind of the fight promoter, which is not to say that its entirely wrong.
For instance, the most recognizable part of this approach? The part where Ellerbe assures us that its very simple to just not buy the event if we dont like it? Thats true. A quick review of current statutes reveals that no one is legally required to purchase this pay-per-view, which is a relief. Avoiding a $100 pay-per-view that you dont want to see is actually shockingly easy.
But Ellerbes frustration seems to stem mostly from the answer to his own rhetorical question: Its like, you tell me whats wrong with these two guys fighting?
Plenty of people have told him. Theyve told anyone who would listen. Theyve pointed out that this is a boxing match between probably the worlds most accomplished boxer and an opponent who isnt any boxer at all. Theyve called it a carnival hype job and a cynical cash grab, and they did it without even needing Ellerbe to ask first.
A lot of the criticism of this fight is valid. Some of it is less so. But Ellerbes point seems to be that there should be no criticism at all, lest we risk hurting the sport of boxing.
Thats the really baffling part, is his claim that hardcore fight fans are whats holding fight sports back. Hes talking specifically about boxing, but he could just as well be talking about any combat sports, since theyre all niche worlds with their own little bubbles that exist outside the mainstream sports of football, basketball and baseball.
The hardcore fans are the reason boxing isnt where those other sports are, according to Ellerbe. He actually said this, with no apparent sense of irony. The people who follow this sport when others ignore it? Theyre the problem, in his view. Its like saying vegans are the ones holding the hummus industry back.
What Ellerbe means is that the people who know combat sports well enough to care about and call it out when they think its made a wrong turn are themselves the problem. The unstated assumption here is that without those people around, promoters could get away with doing anything they want.
One problem with that theory is that, near as I can tell, thats whats happening anyway. Mayweather vs. McGregor? Its happening, and those involved will make a ton of money from it. No one is stopping them, not the media or the athletic commission or the fans.
While Ellerbe seems to want people to talk about the fight (its literally the only reason to have a pre-fight media day at the gym), he only seems to want to hear enthusiastic support for the purchase of this pay-per-view. Anything else is holding the sport back, apparently, which is why he’d prefer that we mind our business.
And the legitimacy of the fights that promoters are trying to sell us? That’s apparently none of our business. Unless, of course, we’re buying. But if the only thing you want to hear from your customers is credit card numbers with minimal feedback, at some point we might have to wonder who’s really holding back the sport.For more onThe Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,check out theMMA Rumorssection of the site.

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