According to Showtime Executive Stephen Espinoza, the talks between both sides are currently at a stand still.
“The biggest battle in Mayweather-Pacquiao was both guys really thinking that the other wanted to do it,” said Espinoza to Chris Mannix. “That part has happened [with McGregor and Mayweather], so I think the real question - and it’s sort of a black box right now - is where’s the UFC really, on this? Do they, in fact, want it? Dana - speaking on behalf of, I assume, the UFC - is making noises that he’s more open to it but talk is talk. I haven’t seen a lot of progress either internally in the deal between the two of them or externally, the deal between that side and this side. It’s largely at a standstill. There hasn’t been a ton of progress and I think if they don’t move relatively quickly, people may move on. People may tire of it. But it really is something that needs to happen this year or it probably won’t happen. Floyd’s on 18 months, two solid years come September since he’s fought. He’s still in great shape, but at a certain point, he’s not gonna do it after a while.”
Showtime would act as the pay-per-view carrier for the fight if it were to come together, as the network has been partnering with Mayweather Jr. since 2013.
Espinoza thinks that when it comes to the UFC, they are afraid that the lightweight champion will never fight for them again after the potential bout with Mayweather Jr.
“I think part of the fear on the UFC’s side is that they’ll never see Conor again. If he makes 50, 60, 70 and then you never see him in the ring and he retires in Ireland and so much for their megastar,” says Espinoza.
The next big event for Showtime is the Anthony Joshua/Vladimir Klitschko bout, which takes place on Saturday, April 29.