Conor McGregor’s coach doesn’t think a boxing referee should be involved in a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
If UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor were to face Floyd Mayweather, it’d be a boxing match contested in the boxing ring under boxing rules, with the undercard supported by other boxing matches. McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, believes that the referee for McGregor vs. Mayweather should actually come from MMA.
I wish I was making that up, but I’m not. In this feature interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Kavanagh explained his reasoning.
Okamoto: How important will the negotiations be when it comes to things like referee, judges, ring size, gloves — those types of details?
Kavanagh: If I’m speaking plainly, and I don’t know how much trouble this will get me in, I think we’re going to have a hard time finding a fair referee and a fair set of judges. It will be very difficult for a 50- to 60-year-old boxing referee to not go into this bout a little bit biased.
Actually, I’ll throw this out there, I think [U.K.-based MMA referee] Marc Goddard should be the referee. We’re already agreeing to boxing rules, boxing fight, boxing ring — everything is done boxing. So, how about an MMA referee that will understand the inside fighting that will go into this fight?
While Goddard is a well-respected MMA referee, there are no records of him having ever officiated a boxing match before.
That line about “an MMA referee that will understand the inside fighting” is 100% laughable, as if to suggest the top boxing referees do not already know how to officiate inside fighting in their own sport, and that an outsider would be a viable alternative. Maybe an MMA referee will accidentally forget to enforce boxing rules and allow knees in the clinch, causing outrage in the boxing world, but apart from that, Kavanagh’s idea is outrageous.
As for the rest of the Mayweather-McGregor talk, he did have a couple of interesting answers as far as prepping for Floyd. He believes that they have “to come at this with an MMA striking strategy,” and that he wants a boxing expert in camp to help better understand how “a referee might see something, how a judge sees something. That’s the reason to have someone from boxing, as opposed to learning how to box.” (Yes, he said this line in the same interview where he suggested an MMA referee be in charge of this fight.)
In terms of the ongoing negotiations, he’d prefer a catchweight of 152 lbs, which is the same amount for when Mayweather fought Canelo Alvarez in 2013. He also is aiming for McGregor to return to MMA competition by the end of the year, this all assuming the Mayweather fight happens in September.