By Ciaran O'Flynn
What is tipped to be the biggest fight in combat sports history took a massive step closer to becoming a reality yesterday after Conor McGregor revealed he has agreed terms and signed his part of the deal. In a statement released via 'The Mac Life', a website which McGregor owns, the UFC lightweight champion stated: "It is an honour to sign this record breaking deal alongside my partners Zuffa LLC, The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Paradigm Sports Management.
"The first, and most important part of this historic contract has now officially been signed off on. Congratulations to all parties involved. We now await Al Haymon and his boxer’s signature in the coming days."
So, the main question is what happens next? The ball is now firmly in the court of team Mayweather. Even when Mayweather does agree to his side of the deal there are still many variables to be discussed. These variables include the date, the venue, what TV stations will obtain the rights to air the fight, even the size of gloves both fighters will wear will all have to be agreed on before this fight is set in stone.
Team McGregor believe the longer it takes Mayweather to agree to his side of the deal the better it suits them as it will give them more time to prepare themselves for taking on arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time.
McGregor and his team have been preparing for Mayweather for several months now, so much so they will be building a specialized boxing gym in an empty unit behind Straight Blast Gym where McGregor trains daily.
A potential date both sides were considering was September 16 in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, this date was lost due to the arena being booked for a boxing super fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
UFC president Dana White revealed he is now in talks with team Mayweather to get their side of the deal done. The will likely be the more difficult of the two sides to deal as Mayweather will want everything on his terms and will give little to no leeway in discussions. Mayweather has constantly talked about him being the 'A' side and McGregor being the 'B' side.
The size of gloves both fighters will wear has been flagged up as a potential issue. McGregor is used to wearing small four ounce gloves in the UFC, while Mayweather wears 10 ounce gloves. A reasonable compromise would be for both fighters to wear eight ounce gloves, however Mayweather is insisting McGregor wear 10 ounce gloves. The reason being the lighter the glove the more power you can generate in your punches. Mayweather knows the heavier gloves will help in taking away McGregor's most valuable tool - his powerful left hand.
Negotiations with team Mayweather are ongoing, and it looks like this fight will almost definitely go ahead, but with many details to be finalised it will most likely be late in the year.
But with the personalities that Mayweather and McGregor bring, when they meet in the ring it will be unmissable.