Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and UFC megastar Conor McGregor are gonna “fight” tomorrow. Since it’s a boxing match, Mayweather will almost certainly beat McGregor bloody and then use McGregor’s hair to mop up his own bodily fluids. To alleviate that inevitable disappointment and test the two fighters’ true skills, I put on a series of better fights. In a pro wrestling video game.
This article originally ran on 7/14/17. It’s been bumped up and lightly edited in anticipation of the disappointing shitsho— I mean, fight tomorrow.
Since this whole Mayweather vs McGregor thing is just an excuse for an absurdly lucrative media circus—much of which went down a month ago during a four-day multinational promo tour in which Mayweather and McGregor yelled at each other, threw money around, and McGregor delivered some extremely questionable opinions about race—I decided to go as big as possible with my fights. I wanted to see who’d fare better against the best fighters ever conceived. Only one video game could offer me the sort of roster I needed: Fire Pro Wrestling World, which came out on Steam in July and already had over 3,000 custom-made fighters when I put this together.
I went through all of them to select Mayweather and McGregor’s opponents. I decided both would run the same gauntlet of larger-than-life circus fights. Whoever fared better—even if they lost every fight—would be declared the winner. I also had to choose between multiple Mayweathers and McGregors, because of course multiple people have taken cracks at making two of the most well-known fighters on Earth. In order to do this with as much scientific rigor as possible, I matched each version of Mayweather and McGregor against each other in hopes that one pairing would produce the sort of fight most people are expecting from the two.
Thanks to Fire Pro Wrestling’s complex AI logic system, which allows people to assign percentage chances that fighters will use specific moves in all sorts of different scenarios, I came away with a Mayweather and McGregor who fought remarkably similarly to their real-life counterparts. Mayweather punched, clinched, covered, evaded, and frustrated. McGregor flew forward with knees and kicks, seemingly possessed by a primal hunger to land his big left hand—but he also looked like a pale ghost of himself after a couple hard rounds. Perfect. That’s when I knew I had my very good wrestle boy robots based on not very good punch men.
So there’s my methodology. Now onto the fights.
First Opponent: Goku
Goku from Dragon Ball Z is probably the most powerful fighter in all of anime, though forum debates on that subject rage to this day and will undoubtedly persist after we’re all dead. Obviously, though, Mayweather and McGregor had to duke it out with the man who once yelled so loud that he grew several additional six packs.
Mayweather vs Goku
Summary: Goku beats down Mayweather but eventually wears himself out. Mayweather taunts every chance he gets while jabbing the crap out of Goku. Mayweather obsessively uppercuts Goku in the back and butt, only to succumb to exhaustion himself. Goku then hoists Mayweather into the air and slams him, leading to a pin.
Result: Goku wins by “Spirit Bomb” (a power bomb into a pin) after 18 minutes and 40 seconds.
McGregor vs Goku
Summary: McGregor overwhelms Goku early and nearly wins with ground ‘n’ pound, but he ends up exhausted (of course) and barely escapes from a power bomb pin. McGregor misses a spin kick, as is his way, and looks to be so tired that he can barely stand. Goku starts wailing on him. Then, out of nowhere, McGregor uncorks a left hand the size of his own ego and Goku eats dirt.
Result: McGregor wins by come-from-behind “holy shit” KO after nine minutes and 35 seconds.
Overall winner: McGregor.
Second Opponent: The Cast Of Street Fighter
McGregor won’t shut up about what would happen if he was duking it out with Mayweather in an MMA fight instead of a boxing match, so I figured we ought to contest this on neutral territory: a street fight. The first rule of street fighting is that there are no rules—which is why fireballs made of spirit energy are allowed—so I decided to toss Mayweather and McGregor in with multiple characters from Street Fighter. At the same time.
Mayweather vs Balrog, Mika, Guile, and Ryu
Summary: Balrog is a goddamn giant, but Mayweather holds his own and forces Balrog to tag in Guile. Mayweather beats down Guile and Ryu at the same time, but then they tag in Mika, who absolutely styles on Floyd with every pro wrestling move in the book. Balrog returns and finishes the job by casually standing on Mayweather—who is basically dead.
Result: Street Fighter characters win by pin after nine minutes and 56 seconds.
McGregor vs Balrog, Mika, Guile, and Ryu
Summary: McGregor comes out aggressive and backs up Balrog and Ryu with a series of withering kicks and knees. Guile gives him some trouble, but then Guile tags in Mika, and McGregor goes into Irish berserker mode against both of them. McGregor actually lands a spin kick, something that has never happened in real life, but finds himself exhausted afterward. Mika and Ryu knock him out of the ring and grab a steel chair. Unbelievably, McGregor fends off their dual-pronged strike and even manages to nearly submit Guile. Unfortunately for him, Balrog—who is somehow bigger than the largest man on earth, Nate Diaz—lumbers back into the ring and boxes McGregor into a pulp. He then pins him the same way he submitted Mayweather, casually smirking all the while.
Result: Street Fighter characters win by pin after 18 minutes and 23 seconds.
Overall winner: McGregor.
Third Opponent: Rocky Balboa
Didn’t Mayweather vs McGregor basically already happen in 2006's Rocky Balboa, which was bad? Even then, though, Rocky—the scruffy, odds-defying god of underdogs—is impossible to dislike, which makes him a perfect foil for Mayweather and McGregor. Also, he’s the best-known fictional boxer in existence, so I didn’t really have a choice here.
Mayweather vs Rocky Balboa
Summary: Rocky bloodies Mayweather with a single punch, which doesn’t bode well for Mayweather’s chances. Mayweather fights hard, clinching and moving like his training regimen mostly consisted of watching the ballroom scene from Beauty And The Beast repeatedly, but he’s a bloody mess. Eventually, Rocky tires, and Mayweather turns the tide. He starts taunting and landing hard combos. But then the tide turns again, and Rocky begins body slamming Mayweather from the top ropes. Then the tide turns a third time, and Mayweather lays into Rocky, who is so exhausted that light gusts are bowling him over. It’s wild! By this point, however, nearly 20 (in-game) minutes have passed, and I realize I should set a time limit for these things, because these guys seem incapable of finishing each other.
Result: Draw after 20 minutes.
McGregor vs Rocky Balboa
Summary: Despite his aggression, McGregor gets pieced up on the feet early. He starts using takedowns and clinches to even the odds and ends up bloodying Rocky with ground ‘n’ pound. Everybody knows you should never bloody Rocky, though, because that makes him more powerful. Rocky pours on the pressure, and McGregor looks exhausted. Then, out of nowhere, he takes Rocky down and submits him with a rear-naked choke, because Fire Pro Wrestling World has grown sentient and developed a sense of humor about the whole Nate Diaz thing.
Result: McGregor wins by submission after eight minutes and 31 seconds.
Overall winner: Draw. (Technically McGregor won his fight, but Mayweather vs Rocky was one of the greatest fights of all time, with Mayweather finally pouring his all into a match, battling back against adversity, and sealing his legacy.)
Fourth Opponent: Milkshake Duck
Milkshake Duck, for those unaware, is a Twitter meme about a duck who loves milkshakes, but who turns out to be racist. Basically, it’s the fate of every beloved figure who starts out innocent and pure in the public eye. A decent amount of coverage coming from this week’s Mayweather vs McGregor promo tour has centered on McGregor’s racially charged remarks and antics in response to those accusations, and Mayweather’s reputation is far from spotless, so you know, if the shoe fits…
Mayweather vs Milkshake Duck
Summary: Milkshake Duck, who is a fucking monstrosity with bowling balls for hands and a beak made out of taco shells, straight up murders Floyd Mayweather. He goes to hell for this, where he is immediately elected king.
Result: Milkshake Duck wins by submission after nine minutes and 27 seconds of horror.
McGregor vs Milkshake Duck
Summary: Milkshake Duck, who is a fucking monstrosity with bowling balls for hands and a beak made out of taco shells, nearly murders McGregor too, but—because karmic justice is not real, even in video games—we regret to inform you that McGregor bloodies this symbol of problematic tendencies in the modern era and finishes him with a weird submission called the “banana spread.”
Result: McGregor wins by submission after 11 minutes and 57 seconds.
Overall winner: Nobody. Mayweather and McGregor are both shitty people who share numerous Milkshake Duck moments between them. Follow Deadspin’s advice and don’t root for either.
Fifth Opponent: Multiple Copies Of Themselves
Mayweather vs McGregor is gonna be a crappy fight, so I couldn’t just have them square off against each other for the main event of this thing. My solution: a clone war. Remember those other Mayweathers and McGregors I mentioned earlier? The ones who didn’t quite make the cut? I think you get the idea.
Team Mayweather vs Team McGregor
Summary: I cannot do this one justice with a summary, in part because it’s goddamn incredible, and in part because it’s really hard to describe something in which multiple copies of the same people fight each other. There’s one bit where all three Mayweathers grapple a McGregor at the same time, bend him over, and punch his back in perfect sync. It’s adorable. Then one Mayweather headbutts a McGregor in the dick. All the while, the biggest Floyd Mayweather won’t stop cartwheeling. I don’t know why he cartwheels. To my knowledge, this is not a thing Floyd Mayweather is known for. Eventually it ends, as all good things do, and my heart breaks.
Result: Draw after 20 minutes.
Overall winner: The judges (me) award a win to Team Mayweather for superior control and better cartwheel form.
Mayweather: One win, three losses, one draw.
McGregor: Three wins, one loss, one draw.
The winner: Nobody. Nobody ever again.