My No-F*cks-Given Review of the Mayweather-McGregor Fight
I went to Vegas and all I got was this sense of impending doom.
BY Christine Flammia | Aug 28, 2017 | Culture
I've found myself on the dark side of an existential crisis more than once over the past year. I believed the election of Donald J. Trump was the biggest wakeup call I had ever had, or ever would have. Like a work-for-hire magician, Trump unveiled (and then proceeded to feed) the archaic bigotry and appallingly backwards beliefs so many Americans identify with. Racism, sexism, and stupidity have always been present, of course. But their forceful reemergence forced me to reevaluate my own life, and the people I put in it. Maybe it was naive, but I honestly didn't think I'd yet again experience something that made question everything I am, and everything I thought I knew—at least not for a while. And then I went to a fucking boxing match.
The closest to a boxing match I've ever been is going to a boxing-inspired workout in a basement in New York City where you punch a bag for 45 minutes next to amateur models and try not to throw up. The closest I've ever come to Vegas is strategically nowhere near it, because I'm 24 going on 87 and I have recurring nightmares where someone makes me wear a bandage dress for the rest of my life. I don't really drink, I'm too broke to gamble, and I'd rather walk on burning gravel than put my foot into a patent leather stiletto. I am, by all possible means of evaluation, the last person who should ever come to Las Vegas to watch Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. engage in the most hyped boxing match of all time.
And yet what kind of responsible writer would I be if I wasn't at least a little bit masochistic? So when I was invited to a match I knew nothing about in a city I had no desire to visit, "no" was not an option. You must suffer at the hand of consumerism for good content in the digital age. I was instructed to not learn anything about the fight, and not to research anything about Vegas. I went in blind.
I count seven pairs of Yeezys, 17 oversized suit jackets, three bandage dresses, six boobs jobs, a butt implant, and at least three women who are not not getting paid to be here. A group of guys I don't recognize but feel like I should saunter past me, and my oxygen supply is cut off my the strangling scent of (probably overpriced) cologne. My new friend Brian leans over.
"This guy's a legend—truly. He's legit. The one with the chains fights under Mayweather. I've seen a few of them around, just by watching other fights. This one is famous on Instagram, he's like an oversized cat whisperer or something."
The fuck is an oversized cat whisperer? Someone shows me his Instagram page, which is littered with photos of the dude cuddling lions and hugging leopards. I wonder how someone finds themselves in the field of wild cat whispering, but then again I don't care enough to find out. I take a quick scan of the store. I never understood why people with money decide that gaudy, oversized, diamond-encrusted chain necklaces were the most ideal way to show you have cash. Grills, too. People still wear grills? I run my tongue along my own teeth, which took three palate expanders, four years of braces, and a lifetime of retainers to maintain. That's upwards of USD10,000. I consider us equal.
We're inside the new Hublot store, which is inside Caesar's Palace in the adult amusement park that is Las Vegas, Nevada. Hublot sells some of the most expensive watches in the world, a brand so niche that unless you're either a watch person, very wealthy, or both, you might not even recognize it. Hublot has a longstanding partnership with Ferrari, and watches that start at USD9,000. For the Vegas store, the brand made four exclusive timepieces. A guy behind the counter asks me if I'd like a closer look. I decline. Hublot is a sponsor for Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers of all time, or so I have been told repeatedly in the past week, and the boxer who will likely annihilate MMA champion Conor McGregor. I don't know anything about combat sports, but I've learned this fact can get me through most conversations about the weekend's events.
The weigh-in earlier in the day was a light puff of smoke to what is sure to be a full-blown brushfire tomorrow. It's 105 degrees out, and the T-Mobile Arena is flooded with screaming drunk people wearing Irish flags as capes and skirts. I genuinely want to interview some, and I stop to ask their thoughts on the fight. They scream "McGregor" back in my face, and bang their hands against their blindingly white Irish chests.
I want to talk to Mayweather fans too, but I don't spot any easily. I excuse myself from my seat, and lap around the arena. But I don't see any Mayweather fans, or at least anyone in Mayweather gear. What I do see is every single 20-something man from Ireland screaming his face off as he ascends the escalators into nosebleed seats. I like the thought of an Ireland full of just women, rejoicing as they take control of their homes and towns. I wander more, but without luck. It smells deeply of cigarettes and vomit. I miss college.
I'm calling this the first L of the weekend, and I head back to my seat for the weigh-in. The arena is decently filled, but without a person of color in sight. I also don't see a single woman who doesn't look like she was forced there against her will. I try to make knowing eye contact with each one I see, but none of them look back.
There are thousands of half naked white boys cheering the old "oolaaaay olay olay olay," waiting for McGregor to step out. Once the cameras flip onto him, the volume in the arena reaches a deafening level. The fighter is wearing green joggers, slides, no shirt, and an Irish flag around his shoulders. He looks like he would like getting punched in the face. I feel like I might want to do it. Mayweather then steps out, looking equally as cocky, but to a crowd of boos and slurs. What a joy it is to share this moment with them.
The grown men strip down to their sponsored underwear, lest not one moment go unpaid, and step onto the scale. I assume by the flexing that they both make weight. They complete the moment by getting up in each others faces, nearly naked and completely impassioned. Is this sneakily the wokest sport in the world? I wonder how many boxers before them have felt the confusing throngs of passion swing from hatred to love before a fight, and then I feel an overwhelming dread for the day ahead.
I try to find it within me to care about this fight. Sadly, after a quick scan of my brainspace, I see there is indeed not fuck to be given. I pray for hypeness at the bottom of my coffee cup, and I head over to the arena. There's a calmness that didn't exist yesterday. It's much quieter, and feels emptier. The crowd is distinctly different; it's almost all middle-aged men in poorly fitted suits, some leading a wobbly-heeled woman who is lightyears more attractive than he. I hear French and German accents, and see more snakeskin leather sneakers than I was even aware could be made. They buy expensive tequila and sip it slowly, and steadily. They laugh at their own jokes.
Before the real fight begins, my group and I sweet talk our way to the media and VIP entrance. Nick Jonas, Ozzy Osbourne, and The Chainsmokers roll through. The more I see, the less sense it makes. I excuse myself to the bathroom. Inside, two of the Corona Girls are helping each other get dressed in the underwear and heels they wear on stage. One asks the other for a hairbrush. I want to talk to them, but I don't. I don't have a hairbrush.
I head to my seat to watch Demi Lovato sing the national anthem because she is a perfect angel and the only good thing that might come out of this night. Someone is vaping something that smells eerily like a vanilla bean Yankee candle. Everyone is standing up, save for one lady a few rows ahead with nails at least three inches long, who is sitting and taking selfies on Snapchat, seemingly unaware of the mayhem around her.
Actually mayhem doesn't feel strong enough a word. As the two overpaid bullies step into the ring, the energy goes from hype to primal. Grown men punch their fists forward in anticipation, blue and purple veins popping out of their foreheads. I feel a wave of sickness, and then of laughter. They can't be serious, can they? But serious they were—dead fucking serious. Although I haven't moved, I've suddenly been transported back in time. McGregor and Mayweather are gladiators, the arena their colosseum, Las Vegas their Rome. I have the nagging feeling I'm waiting for one of the two men to bleed out and die.
The fighting begins and I can't understand why people are so excited because it is so clearly prewritten. McGregor comes out like a little punchy freshman, excited and ready to get into a fight he has no business being in. Mayweather is controlled and composed, letting his opponent tire himself out. The crowd falls is rapt. Every jab, uppercut, and back-of-the-head punch is met with oohs and ahhs. I feel lightheaded.
I wonder what the world would be like if women ran it. Would it be less backwards? I find it hard to believe that any forward-thinking female would pay a cool $10,000 to watch grown men punch each other in the face for an hour. In the past 2,000 years we have innovated, created, learned, and built a world of newness. But it is a world still run by men, and those men still want to watch other men punch each other in the face.
The fighting continues. McGregor topples into the ropes and the man behind me screams: "Yes, you little bitch. YES!"
I wonder if I'm the second kind of evil that exists in the world—not the kind that does evil things, but the one who sees evil being done, and does nothing to stop it. The men around me scream, and cheer and high five each other, seemingly hoping for one of the fighters to bleed, to pass out, to die. I can taste the testosterone, and I feel like I'm getting dumber by association. It feels worse than primal, and more grotesquely undomesticated, like a feral squirrel.
McGregor looks like absolute garbage and I can't look for too long because it makes my stomach hurt. Sure, I think he's a self-assured dickweed but I—someway, somehow—do not find it a relief to watch a human be put in pain by another human for fun. I try to identify the muscles in their backs so I can watch with a purpose, but I don't get very far before they call the match. McGregor, too worn to properly defend himself, loses a "well-fought and completely unstaged" battle to one of the world's greatest boxers. Mayweather stays undefeated. McGregor keeps his dignity. Vegas doesn't go broke. It's an ending as prewritten and unsurprising as the city itself. The millionaire men around me don't look disappointed at all.
Floyd Mayweather has a penchant for domestic violence, and Conor McGregor has a well-documented history of making racist comments. They are both piece of trash human beings and they both deserve to punched in the goddamn throat. Call me an entitled millennial twat (wouldn't be the first time), but I find it disturbing to support, defend, and spend money on men who are inextricably attached to their negative influence on society. On the other hand, I envy the drunk and sloppy men around me, who have, in this moment, found something outside of their everyday lives that can bring them peace for a moment. Maybe money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a USD10,000 seat, a view of two mean beating the hell out of each other, and enough expensive tequila to make you forget it all. - Esquire US