When it comes down to it, people need the money to feed their families and they will do whatever it takes to get that. Some fighters believe that the legacy fight is bigger to them at certain stages of their career than a quick cash grab. At this point, I have no issue with either of the two being done, but this makes me ask, what is more important, legacy or money?
The first stance I can see with this topic is that legacy is most important to some guys. After all the endorsement money is spent, and all of the doors have been shut in their athletic career, what will they have left? Most fighters will never get back to their stardom as peak athletes and end up doing things later down the line to get some money, such as commentary or even fighting WAY past their prime (i.e. Mike Tyson).
Is anyone really interested in a Brock Lesnar vs Fedor Emelianenko fight at this stage in their career? No, they are not, but of course, we will tune in just to see the fight because these are two all-time greats. Does this tarnish either of their legacies by doing a cash grab this late in their career? Probably not, but it can be looked at both ways in my opinion.
If you want to look at it from a monetary standpoint, take a guy like Nate Diaz. He has openly said he does not care about winning a championship anymore and he is only fighting for monetary purposes at this point in his career. Kudos for him for owning up to it, but at the same time, does this ruin his legacy?
I think it actually enhances his legacy and it also makes the UFC and MMA as a whole more of a prizefighting sport, which is MAJOR progress from when they were referred to as human cockfighting. He also has a rubber match with Conor McGregor that can be done at any time, as well as a Jorge Masvidal rematch for the BMF title that is rumored to be happening soon.
So his way of going about it openly has granted him with the position to fight the two most popular fighters on the planet right now, which is a good move on his part. This is something that you can expect from more fighters going forward and you have already seen it thus far.
Jon Jones has vacated his belt because he has no more light heavyweight legacy left to prove, so he is now going for super fights at the heavyweight division to get the money later on in his career. Jones is an exception because he most likely will be fighting for a championship as well as the big money, but this is an anomaly.
Is there something wrong with wanting to fight for a championship and further your fighting legacy as one of the greatest compared to only fighting the bigger names that can get you paid the most? I don’t think there is really a right or wrong answer, however, this is something that not all fight fans are a fan of.
When Floyd Mayweather fought Conor McGregor to become 50-0, a lot of boxing fans were infuriated and thought this was a mockery of the sport, but Conor came out with at least $30M and Floyd $100M. I say ‘at least’ because this was just their disclosed purses, as their pay-per-view splits will certainly add a lot more to that amount.
Boxing fans think even with a win, doing a cash grab like this hurt his legacy, but he was paid one of the biggest purses of his career, so who is to tell him not to? If he were to fight the next #1 contender at the time, he would not have seen close to that. We know this because when Floyd took on an undefeated Canelo Alvarez, Floyd’s purse was only (only lol) $41.5M compared to Canelo’s $5M purse.
If this doesn’t help you understand why guys are going for cash grabs instead of staying the course and fighting the next man up, then maybe you need a new calculator.