The clause in Conor McGregor’s contract that could destroy his career

Dan WetzelColumnist

LAS VEGAS – Ever since the big fight was signed, there has been speculation that if UFC champion Conor McGregor is struggling against boxing star Floyd Mayweather, McGregor might revert to his mixed martial arts roots and wrestle Mayweather to the ground, throw an elbow or even deliver a kick.

It would result in an automatic disqualification in the fight that takes place Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena, but offer some measure of violent satisfaction. The possibility is enough that some sport books, such as the South Point Casino, are offering a “Will McGregor be disqualified during the fight” prop bet. Yes pays +600, no is -900.

“Bet that he won’t,” UFC president Dana White said.

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Start with this: White said the contract between the two fighters contains a clause that penalizes McGregor should he get disqualified for using a mixed martial arts move. White is privy to the details of the deal and McGregor’s thinking.

“There is a huge penalty clause in the contract,” White told Yahoo Sports on Thursday.

And that’s just the start of it. McGregor would immediately put at risk a portion of his share of the fight, and potentially the entire thing. McGregor is expected to earn tens of millions of dollars from what many believe will be richest prizefight in combat sport history. Under Nevada Athletic Commission rule 467.147, up to McGregor’s entire share of the purse could be immediately withheld until a final penalty, which could include the entire amount, is determined.

“The athletic commission would keep the entire purse and decide what to do,” White said.

And finally, McGregor would open himself up to civil litigation.

“The civil lawsuit that Floyd Mayweather would have on Conor McGregor would ruin him,” White said.

Mayweather would be able seek damages for breaking the rules of boxing and potentially claim, depending on the injury, that he can’t fight again. As such, he could seek lost revenue from fights that never occurred. That could be $50-150 million per fight.

If Conor McGregor reverts to his MMA tactics against Floyd Mayweather, it could cost him everything. (AP)
If Conor McGregor reverts to his MMA tactics against Floyd Mayweather, it could cost him everything. (AP)

“What you do in a civil lawsuit like that is you look at Floyd Mayweather’s last three fights, including this one,” White said. “The number is massive. So what are the damages? You have to have damages. The damages would be incredible.”

McGregor is well aware that doing anything outside the rules of boxing would cost him everything. It could cost him more than everything, actually.

“It’s not just that he could get nothing from this fight,” White said. “He could be left with less than nothing. He could get nothing and then get sued for everything he has now.”

Still, the belief that McGregor might go rogue stubbornly continues. Brent Musburger, the legendary sports broadcaster who now serves as a host and the managing editor of VSiN, a Las Vegas-based gambling news network, said he continues to hear it mentioned around town. It stems from the fact that Mayweather is 49-0 as a professional boxer, while McGregor, a two-division UFC champion, is making his professional boxing debut. Frustration born of lopsided experience and ability is a possibility.

“The feeling is, let’s say Mayweather get the upper hand,” Musburger told Yahoo Sports. “Will McGregor revert to the tactics from the cage? So that’s the most intriguing possibility. And there are some people in this town who think that’s going to happen.”

While a disqualification can occur without engaging in MMA tactics (too many low blows or head butts, for example), the fact that the prop bet exists both in casinos and online suggests the public believes it’s possible. There is no prop bet at South Point, for example, about Mayweather being disqualified. Just McGregor.

Musburger said the monetary damages to McGregor, however, are just too great to think he’d act out. It’s one reason that the host casino for the fight, the MGM Grand, among other books, is not offering the bet individually.

“The one thing McGregor is going to take away from this is, biggest payday he’s ever had,” Musburger said. “His life should be set, his children, his grandchildren, several generations.”

Conor McGregor is an undoubtedly smart guy who cares a great deal about money. As such, would he really go rogue and throw everything away by throwing an elbow?

“No way,” White said.

You can take that to the betting window.

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