Jumping through hoops
Basketball championship game stands in way of highly anticipated Mayweather-McGregor match
Before getting to Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather has to deal with Ice Cube.
Mayweather is supposed to fight McGregor on Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in what could be the richest boxing match ever. Problem is, Cube already has the venue booked for the championship game of his 3-on-3 basketball league.
The rapper-actor said Thursday the sides are in discussions and the Big3 is open to moving. He believes an agreement is near.
“But until then, we’re still in the T-Mobile Arena,” Cube said during a conference call. “So I think we’re close, but until we get over the finish line, we’re just close.”
Opened in 2016, T-Mobile Arena is the biggest venue in Las Vegas, listing a capacity of 20,000 for boxing. The backup venue, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, would hold about 3,000 fewer seats.
“I’m pretty sure the fighters want that money, the promoters of the fight, so that being said we just got to be treated right,” Cube said.
The undefeated Mayweather will be ending his retirement to face McGregor, the popular mixed martial arts star, and would be fighting at T-Mobile for the first time. UFC president Dana White has said the match would be there.
But T-Mobile’s website still lists the Big3 championship game on Aug. 26 on its calendar of events, with no mention of Mayweather-McGregor. While Cube said arena officials could ultimately do what they wanted, they couldn’t do so without breaking a contract with his league.
“We will have to come to an agreement and we will be working to do so, but we do have the arena under contract,” Big3 CEO Amy Trask said.
If the Big3 moves, it would go to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. That game is scheduled to begin in the afternoon and the fight is at night, and Big3 executives think the increased attention and all the celebrities the pay-per-view attraction will bring to the Strip will benefit the league of former NBA players as it wraps up its inaugural season.
“So it’s turned out to be an incredibly good thing and there’s a lot of people from both sides that are friends and we really are just trying to work out what’s best for both parties,” Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz said. “It’s not a big deal because we have two amazing arenas.”
In this Jan. 11 photo, entertainer Ice Cube, right, announces the launch of the Big3 professional basketball league as former NBA player and players union deputy Roger Mason looks on in New York.