Strategy beats Strategy — is it a win-win?!
On the 26th of August 2017 Conor Anthony McGregor — aka “The Notorius MMA” — was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. with a Technical KO on the 10th round of a professional boxing match.
Mayweather, aged 40, is a five-division boxing world champion, track record of 49–0 professional fights (at the time he accepted to fight again), retired since 2015 by the time he accepted the challenge. He retired in 2015 as champion (first retirement in 2007 btw). He was really high on the richest professional athletes list. He had conquered all that was to be conquered when he retired. No need for more of “that”. Or is it?
McGregor is a two-division mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion and ultimate fighting championships (UFC) lightweight champion. He is at the top of the sport he masters. But he wanted more. And he wanted it fast. What was he looking for? Prestige and money — lots of it.
You see, professional boxing matches weigh in a lot more money and spotlight than MMA or UFC fights. It is a more worldwide recognised sport, with a much wider fan base, and a much more wealthier one too.
McGregor reaching the top of “his” mountain, understood that there were higher mountains to be climbed. But he would not be able to climb those mountains from the ground up in “just” a couple of years. Like everyone else, he would have to sign up for the lowest ranks and competitions and make his way up. That’s a bummer when you are already the top man at your game. Your mindset is not prepared to take that path. Your family, friends, and fans would not understand it. And by the way — since these sports are pretty intense on the athletes body — maybe you don’t have the time anymore to climb the stair all the way up to the top…
Looking at mans’ list of “best of” in many areas of life in general, you clearly understand that not all individuals in the “hall of fame” made their way from the ground up in each category in what they are best known at. If you are curious about this topic go and check Shane Snows’ book “Smartcuts”. He addresses the subject in a beatiful book, carefully presenting decades long information on the people that are at the top of their game, and why sometimes it looks like they “don’t belong there”. Bottom line, Shane shows that it is quite possible to jump from one “stair” to another “stair”. It’s all about Strategy, Will and Resilience, and Opportunity.
Why does this has to do with Mayweather-McGregor bout? Mayweather won the fight, right? Whats is there to say? Why is this related to Strategy?
McGregor has been a long time defendant that MMA and UFC fights do not pay enough for what is worth. They are physically very demanding, motivating sometimes very strong damages to the athletes, making it a high risk taking sport. On the other hand, he publicly proclaimed over and over his wish to become wealthier and wealthier. He looked at boxing as a way to get what he wanted money wise, and maybe prolong his athlete lifetime, thus motivating even more income — he is 29 years old. He would have to go way out of his comfort zone, which in any case is really hard for a man already the best at his game well into his athlete mid-lifespan. If he wasn’t sure about this, this could be a major flop in his aggressive and arrogant approach to the sport. If he could make it, he would jump to the high point of the new — more wealthy — stair. And probably had more lifespan at it. Great!
Mayweather record was 49–0, making him together with Rocky Marciano the best boxer ever. He could have lost his record. He had to play this one really smart. He knew his opponent was stronger and more agile, but not used to withstand more than 25 minute fights, and could not use any of his best weapons from MMA. Only boxing was allowed. And he was the expert at that.
McGregor knew that Mayweather is also a money sucker (Mayweather earned a purse of $32 million in 2014 and again in 2015s’ fight against Berto). Mayweather obviously evaluated the chances of winning McGregor were high, thus making it the perfect match for yet another match after retirement (all the boxing and MMA senior opinion makers felt that McGregor was really taking a risk, thus lowering the risk rightfully perceived by Mayweather). And for Mayweather this could possibly be his highest purse ever, given the polemic persona of McGregor in the media.
The boxing organisation also saw this as an opportunity. 2015s’ Mayweather fight earn him good money, but the fight provided low buys. The lowest Mayweather generated in the last 10 previous years, actually. The were in need for something big. Something different. So they said yes to the fight. They authorised a non-professional boxer to fight in a professional match.
Will and Resilience
Getting out of your comfort zone is a overwhelming process. Your body keeps saying NO! Your mind tricks you and you go forth and back. Only a strong dedicated Will and power-house Resilience will get you there. McGregor is key at that. This is why he is able to maintain such high levels of confidence and supremacy over his competitors. Mayweather was already retired, wealthy, and a record holder. He also had to fight his status quo, no doubt about that.
But they both new this would be a Win-Win match. Why is that?
Lets think a while about what if McGregor might have won. Mayweather would not lose his status — his opponent was more than 10 years younger, a top pro fighter, and he would earn a guaranteed purse of $100 million (reports after fight put it at over $300 million).
But Mayweather won the fight — surpassing Rocky Marcianos’ record up to 50–0, and is now able to retire in an even higher fashion. As to McGregor, he had a guaranteed purse of $30 million before the fight and reports after fight put it at over $100 million. Not bad for a 30 minute marathon, when compared to 2016 under $40 million for the top octagons fights.
You see, McGregor Strategy already envisioned this possibility. He was not aiming for a victory. He was aiming for Success! And that, he got — big time! He probably looked as the most proud and happy TKO fighter you ever saw on TV. Are you in doubts? In a single pass he made it to the top of the game, again. Check out these announcements from a recent newspaper:
“Next year, if it stands as is, Floyd will be number one, I’ll be number two, and Ronaldo will be number three […] If I fight one or two more times I will overtake Mayweather […] So that’s what my goal is right now — number one, highest-paid athlete Forbes 2018, make my way towards the billion-dollar mark, and then continue to go.” (Nov2017@TheSun)
Just after a few weeks after the bout, McGregor got back into business. He is a fearless warrior — in the ring and in business, guaranteed! But on top of that state of mind he is a brilliant Strategist. No doubt about it…
Thanks for reading!
Tell me your thoughts on this one! What did I miss? Cheers
References: #Wikipedia #TheSun #businessinsider