Former UFC Champ: Mayweather vs. McGregor Hurt Integrity Of MMA

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas for USA TODAY Sports

After Aug. 26’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, which ended in a tenth round knockout victory for “Money”, many seemed to be somewhat impressed with McGregor’s performance.

The MMA community, specifically, seemed to pleased or content with what transpired for the most part.

Former UFC lightweight champion and current Bellator standout Benson Henderson, however, doesn’t share that same sentiment.

In a recent interview, “Smooth” said that if the crossover fights like Mayweather vs. McGregor become a trend, MMA will ultimately suffer:

“People will start to view us like WWE,” Henderson told ESPN. “You start having freak shows like that — mock contests — and bill them as real? That’s not the way to go.

“Soon, you’ll see fights that are basically worked. ‘Oh, this guy will win, but it will be really close first.’ One guy is carrying the other, for the sake of millions. How close to the edge are we talking to a worked fight? How close to that line do we want to get? Let’s be honest. Let’s call it like we see it.”

Henderson didn’t necessarily imply that the fight was fixed, but he did say that fights like this get ‘too close to skirting the edge’ of a fixed fight. He also said that the ‘integrity of MMA’ is at danger of being hurt in situations like this:

“It’s a very slippery slope when you have a world champion boxer fighting an MMA guy for the sake of money, and he can’t knock him out in the first round,” Henderson said. “He has to make sure he carries him a little bit. For me, that’s too close to skirting the edge [of a fixed fight].

“I think Floyd even said that to a certain extent. He threw six punches in the first round. Would you not call that suspect? Make sure it lasts a couple rounds, then put him away whenever you want? That’s detrimental to the integrity of MMA, to people buying a fight thinking, ‘Oh no, this isn’t fake. It’s real. These guys aren’t carrying each other.’”

Henderson, who has been recovering from ACL surgery, is set to make his return to action at Bellator 183 next week in San Jose, California against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.

Do you agree with his comments?