Mayweather v. McGregor

“Mayweather vs. McGregor ‘Shows How Primitive and Barbaric We Can Be’.”,

Dr. Jeffery Sammons, an expert in African American history, culture and sports at New York University ends this article with the words, “It’s something that shouldn’t exist in our day and age,I think it just shows how primitive and barbaric we can be ”, in response to the then upcoming fight between McGregor and Mayweather. Any avid sports fans would have known of the fight between McGregor and Mayweather, both well known boxers competing in the UFC Championship, with Mayweather defending his title as champion and McGregor fighting to take the title for himself. In sports, especially fighting sports, it is commonplace for people to talk trash, both the competitors and the spectators, since it helps to both hype up the fights and for the fighters,  helps them make more money, with all the bets being placed. It is this ‘trash talk’ that the article, and Simmons, makes a case against. It argues that the talk, no matter how gimmicky it may be, fuels an both a social and racial divide. Leading up to the fight, both Mayweather and McGregor would makes quips against eachother. They would use age, women, money and thier opposing races (black and white respectively) in order to perform for their audience, create an ideal rivalry and give viewers a good fight. 

The article reflects those who feel that this rivalry and the words exchanged during the duration of it take things too far. They feel that a barbaric nature is reflected in the  fact that the UFC and fans would allow/support comments that they feel are hurtful and of a dividing nature. The use of barbaric here is one that is in line with the meaning of the word in Herodotus, namely, that it reflects a cruel, uncivilized and unruly peoples. The definition is  almost exacted iterated here, where Herodotus reflects on the greedy and arrogant nature of King Xerxes and his ‘barbarians’, ” … he(Xerxes) instructed his men to say barbarian and insolent things as they were striking the Hellespont.” (7.35) Clearly, the setup of UFC and boxing in general is seen as flawed by the article, due to the primal nature of the sport and its allowance for a traditional or stereotypically expression of male aggression and competition. While the ‘others’ of Herodotus are the Northern Europeans, the ‘others’ in this case are the spectators and fans, who embrace said agression. Regardless of how it is perceived by those who refuse to support boxing and other rough sports, they remain very popular, and their popularity ultimately dominates the opposing opinions, similarly to how ultimately, the barbarians conquer the Greeks/Romans, despite the unsavory title.