7 questions we need answered about this Floyd Mayweather-Rizin FF fight on New Year’s Eve

What a strange time for the nature of reality. Remember back when you could hear of an idea and then instantly rule it out for being too far-fetched or obviously ridiculous? Yeah, well, that’s over now.

It’s 2018, and the laughable has become likely. Not just in combat sports, either (but especially in combat sports). It’s something in the air, the spirit of these uncertain times. We’re fed up with realism around here. We want to see just how bizarre things can get.

Even in this atmosphere it was strange to hear, seemingly out of nowhere, that Floyd Mayweather had an announcement to make alongside executives from Japan’s Rizin FF promotion.

When he showed up in a red, white, and blue tracksuit late Sunday night to confirm that he’d be fighting undefeated kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in some kind of undetermined bout at Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve, that’s when it became real enough that some questions needed to be asked.

Is Mayweather kidding us right now?

We’ve got to start here, like it or not. We’ve got to consider the possibility that the boxing great is just messing with our heads, trolling the easily trollable combat sports community, making us look his way just because he can. Because while we all know that he loves money more than anything, attention is a close second. And this sure got ours.

But he’s not seriously going to do this, is he?

Depends what the “this” is. Maybe the strangest part of this announcement was how much has yet to be decided about what the fight will even look like. The participants freely admitted that everything from the rule set to the weight is still up in the air. What that tells you is no final bout agreements have been inked, which means it could possibly all still fall apart if they can’t agree on what this is even going to be.

Who does that, announces a fight before deciding what kind of fight it’ll be?

Japanese fight promoters, for one. The combat sports scene is and always has been a little different on that side of the Pacific. They’re a lot more comfortable with making it up as they go. They’re also not opposed to an outright farce every now and then, especially when New Year’s Eve rolls around. It’s that magical night when a guy in a mask might beat up a guy in schoolgirl cosplay while an anthropomorphic cup of noodles cheers them both on. Would a mostly pointless three-round boxing exhibition really be so unthinkable in an environment like that?

Who is this kickboxer, anyway?

He’s dope. Check him out.

But how can Rizin FF possibly afford the premium services of Mayweather?

There’s the big question. As we’ve seen, you can’t get Mayweather to put on his socks in the morning unless you first convince him that it’ll put some cash in his pocket some kind of way. No way he laces up the gloves in any kind of fight with a hefty payday, and lately Rizin FF hasn’t seemed like it’s in the most robust financial health. One possibility is that, in exchange for his participation, Mayweather’s getting more than just money. He hinted as much himself, which makes you wonder if he’ll own a piece of the company when this is all over with.

“Rizing has done a remarkable job with the fighters,” Mayweather said. “I look forward to giving you guys entertainment come Dec. 31. But my relationship with Rizin, it doesn’t stop just here. I look forward to taking this worldwide.”

How does Mayweather’s ongoing flirtation with the UFC fit into this?

That’s another strange variable you have to factor in. Mayweather may or may not have a firm agreement to actually show up in Tokyo on New Year’s Eve, but one thing this announcement proved was that he can still create a buzz in a moment’s notice within the combat sports world, and he can do it just about anywhere. If he were looking for a way to make a point about his value as a draw, even in strange circumstances, maybe he just made it.

But, c’mon, this is all just a publicity stunt or weird joke, right?

I mean, yes and no. Was it a joke when Mayweather fought Conor McGregor, who made his pro boxing debut against the best boxer of his generation? Well yeah, kind of. It was also a massive payday for everyone involved. While it seems silly to imagine Mayweather in some boxing exhibition against a Japanese kickboxing sensation, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It doesn’t even mean that it won’t be financially successful, in one way or another.

Of course, it’s also not hard to imagine that, three weeks from now, Mayweather and Rizin FF announce that they’ve been unable to agree on terms and LOL at all of us who took this seriously. But that’s just the timeline we’re living in. There’s almost no outcome that’s too bizarre to be a possibility.

For more on Rizin FF 14, visit the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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