UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor suffered a tenth round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather last month in The Money Fight.
Former UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson checked out the super fight, but he wasn’t impressed by what he perceived to be the fight’s impact on MMA.
“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.”
Much like McGregor did when he entered the super fight, the Bellator MMA fighter has no pro boxing experience to speak of, but Henderson also hasn’t shown any interest in crossing over to that sport.
Henderson also believes that Mayweather carried the much less experienced McGregor in their fight.
“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 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.”
Bellator 183 takes place on Saturday, September 23 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California with Ben Henderson and Patricky Freire headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Spike TV.