Prodigy dies at 42 and other news of the week The week that was June 19-June 23

Monday 06.19.17

The state of North Carolina, that bastion of civil rights, had a law barring sex offenders from using social media sites, such as Facebook, invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court also ruled that rejecting trademarks that “disparage” others violates the First Amendment; the Washington Redskins, locked in their own legal battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, wasn’t a party in the current case but supported the decision, which ruled in favor of Asian-American band The Slants. New York sports radio host Mike Francesa, when learning of the decision, referred to The Slants’ members as “Oriental Americans,” and when told that phrase was offensive, he asked, “You’re telling me that using the word ‘Oriental American’ is a slight?” The 47-year-old husband of Beyoncé announced a new, stream-only album available exclusively to the hundreds of Tidal and Sprint customers. In honor of Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery, President Donald Trump released a statement praising two white men (President Abraham Lincoln and Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger), and a sportswriter questioned the history of American police and slave patrols. A heady reporter tried Lyft Shuttle, the ride-sharing company’s beta-stage commuter option, which allows riders to “walk to a nearby pickup spot, get in a shared car that follows a predesignated route, and drops you (and everyone else) off at the same stop” — or, in other words, a bus. A data firm hired by the Republican National Committee left sensitive information — including names, dates of birth and home addresses — of nearly 200 million registered voters exposed to the internet; the company responsible, Deep Root Analytics, calls itself “the most experienced group of targeters in Republican politics.”

The Philadelphia 76ers officially acquired the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, paving the way for the team to draft yet another player with past leg issues. Markelle Fultz, the first pick in Thursday’s draft, not only was traded from 53-win team to one that won just 28 games last season but also briefly considered signing with LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand over Nike. A Green Bay Packers fan and Wisconsin resident who, for some reason, has Chicago Bears season tickets, sued the Chicago franchise for not allowing him to wear Packers gear on the sideline at Soldier Field; the Wisconsin man told the court that the Bears “deprived me of my ability to fully enjoy this specific on-field experience.” In other bear news, three New Hampshire teenagers are being investigated for potential hate crimes for assaulting and yelling a racial slur at costumed Boston street musician Keytar Bear, who is black.

Tuesday 06.20.17

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said White House press secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t appear on camera as much because “Sean got fatter.” Former five-weight boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard offered UFC fighter Conor McGregor one piece of advice for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August: “Duck.” FBI director nominee Christopher Wray once represented an American energy executive who was being criminally investigated by the Russian government, but Wray deleted that information from his official online biography sometime in 2017. Mattel diversified its Barbie and Ken doll lines, offering different sizes, skin tones and hairstyles, including man buns, cornrows and Afros. For the new heavyset Ken dolls, Mattel originally wanted to market them as “husky,” but, “A lot [of guys] were really traumatized by that — as a child, shopping in a husky section.” Twitter was in an uproar after it was reported that Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot was paid just $300,000 for her role in the critically acclaimed, $500 million movie, compared with $14 million for Man of Steel’s leading man, Henry Cavill; the latter figure was not true. Imprisoned former football player O.J. Simpson, who is up for parole for burglary and assault next month, spends his time in prison watching his daughter’s show Keeping Up With the Kardashians; “He likes to keep up with all the gossip with them,” a former prison guard said. NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, last heard fighting prostitutes in Arizona, has decided to donate his brain to scientists when he dies; Sapp said his memory “ain’t what it used to be.” New York rapper Prodigy, real name Albert Johnson, died at the age of 42; Prodigy, one half of acclaimed duo Mobb Deep, had recently been hospitalized because of sickle cell anemia. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top lawyer, hired his own lawyer. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, catching up to the 20th century, signed a bill that raised the age of consent for marriage from 14 to 18. An Algerian man was sentenced to two years in prison for dangling a baby out a 15th-floor window on Facebook, instructing his followers “1,000 likes or I will drop him.” A Canadian man stole a mummified toe that had been used as an ingredient in a hotel bar drink for more than 40 years; an employee said the hotel was “furious” because “toes are very hard to come by.” To test the performative advantages of the microbiome Prevotella, a Connecticut scientist performed a fecal transplant on herself, telling a news outlet: “It’s not fun, but it’s pretty basic.” Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard, at 8:55 p.m. ET, tweeted, “Ok Twitter Fans ,, give me your thoughts , trades or otherwise & Remember 2B-Nice”; five minutes later, Howard was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

Wednesday 06.21.17

The Pentagon paid $28 million for “forest”-colored uniforms for the Afghan Army, yet “forests cover only 2.1% of Afghanistan’s total land area.” White House aide and former reality TV star Omarosa Manigault signs her name as “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault” despite not being a high-ranking federal official or judge. Despite President Trump once valuing his Westchester, New York, golf course at $50 million, the Trump Organization valued the property at $7.5 million on tax forms, half of the town assessor’s valuation of $15.1 million, to pay less in property taxes. The Russian government, accused by U.S. authorities of spreading fake news to influence the 2016 presidential election, said it will “raise the issue of fake news” at the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, calling it “a problem that should be defined and addressed collectively.” Although terrorism is defined as using violence for political reasons, the FBI said the shooting at a baseball practice for the Congressional Baseball Game by a white man had “no terrorism involved.” Meanwhile in Flint, Michigan, the stabbing of a police officer at an airport by a man who reportedly yelled, “Allahu Akbar” is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terrorism. A group of CIA contractors were fired from the agency for hacking a vending machine and stealing over $3,000 worth of snacks. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana), best known for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last month, was sworn in to the House; the Democratic Party of Montana sent Gianforte an orange jumpsuit for his first day in office. The daughter of two dentists who had enough education to teach their children about stocks and investments, and who, herself, owns a multimillion-dollar company, was taught to save and now plans to retire at 40. In shocking news, a new study found that films with diverse casts outperform films that are overwhelmingly white. A police officer was acquitted of fatally shooting a black man. An auto insurance industry-funded study found that states with legalized recreational marijuana laws had a higher frequency of auto collision claims than states without such laws. Murray Energy Corp. CEO Robert E. Murray sued comedian John Oliver for defamation after the HBO host used his weekly TV program to mock the energy executive, at one point calling Murray a “geriatric Dr. Evil”; Oliver predicted on his show June 18 that Murray would sue him. Hall of Fame professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler, known for calling women’s breasts “puppies” and other sexist remarks, said even he hated the finish of a historic all-women’s match that ended with a man winning. In response to the new American craze fidget spinners, Chinese companies have started selling the Toothpick Crossbow, a small, $1 handheld crossbow that can fire toothpicks 65 feet; parents worry the crossbows could blind young children, and Chinese state media fear iron nails could be swapped in for the toothpicks. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said he is willing to trade 21-year-old center Kristaps Porizingis, who is 21, with the “future” of the team in mind.

Thursday 06.22.17

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, still visibly upset over the recent actions of Phil Jackson, pointed out that the Knicks president’s first front office deal back in 2014 was signing forward Lamar Odom, “who was on crack”; Odom was released from the team three months later. Meanwhile, an NBA prospect said Jackson was “falling in and out of sleep” during the prospect’s workout. Knicks owner James Dolan skipped out on the NBA draft to perform with his band, JD & The Straight Shot, at a local winery-music venue. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who last week said U.S. presidents “cannot obstruct justice,” said President Trump alleged he had tapes of former FBI director James Comey to “rattle” him. The president, who in May insinuated that he had “tapes” of conversations with Comey, tweeted that he, in fact, does not have any such tapes. The lack of diversity at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal is so dire that some reporters have taken to calling the newspaper “White Castle.” In another example of “life comes at you fast,” Chicago Cubs outfielder and World Series hero Kyle Schwarber was demoted to Triple-A Iowa after batting just .171 through the first 71 games of the season. The trainer for former Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, in response to his client being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he’s met “drug dealers with better morals” than Bulls general manager Gar Forman. Hip-hop artist Shock G, best known for his seminal 1990s hit “Humpty Dance,” was arrested in Wisconsin on suspicion of drug paraphernalia possession; there was no mention of whether or not the arrest took place at a Burger King restaurant. Just days after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company amid hostile work environment allegations, some company employees began circulating a petition to have Kalanick reinstated, stating “[Travis Kalanick], no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen.” Montgomery County, Maryland, police are using DNA evidence to help create composite sketches of those suspected of sexual assault; the DNA, described as “bodily fluids,” is assumed to be male semen. A New York woman who traveled to the Dominican Republic to get reduced breast implants and liposuction developed an infection and now has a hole in one of her breasts; the woman, who traveled to the Caribbean island for a cheaper $5,000 procedure, will now pay over $10,000 in recovery costs. Famed comedian Bill Cosby is planning a series of town halls aimed at young people, specifically athletes, on how to avoid sexual assault allegations. After nearly three months of secrecy, Republican senators publicly released their version of a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In unrelated news, only 38 percent of Americans want the president and Congress to repeal and replace the ACA.

FRIDAY 06.23.17

A Trump administration official once filed for bankruptcy because of his wife’s medical bills for treating her chronic Lyme disease. President Trump all but confirmed his former tweets about alleged “tapes” of former FBI director James Comey were an attempt to influence the director’s Senate testimony. Comey, who announced the reopening of an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton just 11 days before the Nov. 8 election, refused three weeks earlier to attach his name to a statement on Russia’s involvement in that election because “it was too close to the election for the bureau to be involved.” A North Korea spokesman said the death of American college student Otto Warmbier just days after he was released from imprisonment in the country is a “mystery to us as well.” NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, who was in North Korea around the same time Warmbier was released last week, said dictator Kim Jong-Un is a “friendly guy,” and the two sing karaoke and ride horses together. Zola, a gorilla at the Dallas Zoo, danced to (a dubbed-over version of) Michael Sembello’s 1996 hit “Maniac.” The St. Louis Cardinals announced their first Pride Night celebration at Busch Stadium; a disgruntled fan demanded that the team “stop forcing this down my throat.” Great Britain, loser of the Revolutionary War, is now putting chocolate in its chili. In response to Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp asking an English crowd “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” a White House spokesperson condemned the remarks: “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms, and it’s sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead.” Hours later, New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro, a Trump campaign adviser, visited the White House; last year, Baldasaro said Hillary Clinton “should be shot in a firing squad for treason.” Five-foot-9 Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said if he were taller he’d be “the best player in the world.” Nearly 500 Syrian civilians have been killed in U.S.-led airstrikes against two provinces in the Middle Eastern country. Former MTV Jersey Shore star Ronnie Magro-Ortiz, describing his breakup with fellow reality TV star Malika Haqq, said he and Haqq were like “oil and water.” He added: “It tastes good with bread, but it’s just not mixing.” A jury deadlocked for the second time in the case of a police officer killing a black man. After less-than-stellar reviews from critics and Jada Pinkett Smith, and a 22 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me is being sued for copyright infringement by veteran journalist Kevin Powell.

Warriors win the NBA Finals The Week That Was June 12-June 16

Monday 06.12.17

Ivanka Trump, who is the daughter of President Donald Trump and has presumably known him for 35 years, said that “there’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting” in response to her father’s presidency. Former potential NBC buyer Bill Cosby declined to testify in his sexual assault trial, and his defense team rested after only three minutes and without calling an original witness. Hip-hop entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs topped Forbes magazine’s list of highest-paid entertainers, notably beating out last year’s top earner, Taylor Swift, by nearly $100 million. McDonald’s announced it will use social media app Snapchat to hire future employees this summer; the app, known for its animated filters and porn, is expected to “lure in younger applicants” for the fast-food giant. Meanwhile, a close friend of the president told PBS that Trump was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the ongoing Russia investigation. Professional wrestler Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was sentenced to community service and a $385 fine for his assault of a Guardian reporter during last month’s special election in Montana; Gianforte said it was not his “intention to hurt” the reporter whom he punched and slammed to the ground. During a meandering rant about abortion on his official Facebook page, Missouri state Rep. Mike Moon beheaded a live chicken, cut its feet off, and removed its heart. Twitter argued over the effectiveness of Crock-Pots; in the words of one straightforward dissenter, “why on earth u wanna cook slow.” Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy received another $55,000 for not being fat. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who spent more than a year in prison for illegally gambling on games, claimed the league will try to force a Game 6 in the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors ended the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5.

Tuesday 06.13.17

After the Warriors’ victory, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib took a shot at Golden State forward Kevin Durant, calling the Finals MVP a “suburban kid” who had to “Link up with the best” to win a championship, and that the Hall of Fame is “laughing at you right now”; Talib, who shot himself in the leg last year, joined the Broncos in 2014, a season after Denver eliminated his former team, the New England Patriots, from the playoffs. A Canadian man who is blind in one eye installed a video camera over his eyeball; faced with privacy concerns, the man posited, “Am I not allowed to put an eye camera in my own body?” Hours after NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, an American college student who had been detained in the country since 2016 for allegedly attempting to steal a political banner was released to U.S. authorities; Rodman, who is in North Korea for a reported fifth time, had his trip sponsored by a company specializing in weed-industry cryptocurrency. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said there was no evidence to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Hours later, it was reported that the president is being talked down by his staff from firing Mueller. R&B singer Tinashe, who is mixed-race, acknowledged the presence of colorism in the black community but explained that she is usually the victim of it, telling a reporter that “sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me.” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has been rocked by the recent death of his mother and his own workplace behavior, including meditating in the company lactation room and instructing his employees to “not have sex with another employee” at a company party, has taken a leave of absence from the ride-sharing company. During a companywide meeting to discuss Uber’s alleged “bro culture,” a 74-year-old board member interrupted a female board member by making a sexist joke; the board member stepped down shortly afterward. President Trump reportedly told Republican senators that the House-adopted health care bill, which the president in May called a “great plan,” is too “mean” and called it a “son of a b—-.”

Wednesday 06.14.17

A gunman shot three people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, at a congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who was at the practice field, proposed that lawmakers should be able to carry weapons, including, presumably, while playing baseball. In response to the shooting, Vox editor-in-chief and U.S. history buff Ezra Klein tweeted: “It’s easy to forget what a blessing it is to live in a country where politics rarely leads to violence.” Hours later, three UPS employees were killed by a gunman at a sorting facility in San Francisco. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who was called a “modern plantation overseer” by journalist Bryant Gumbel in 2011, called Gumbel “an idiot” and said he, the implementer of the league’s controversial dress code, has “done more for people of color” than Gumbel, a black man. Days after reports came out that UNLV basketball players Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez were quitting the team to pursue music and Central Florida football player Donald De La Haye may have to give up his YouTube channel in the face of NCAA violations, University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said the football team’s recent $800,000 trip to Rome was paid for by an undisclosed school donor. A fire at a London apartment complex left at least 12 people dead. Five Michigan officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the ongoing contaminated-water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Right-leaning cable network Fox News has plans to drop its “Fair & Balanced” slogan, not because the tagline wasn’t true but to further distance the company from Roger Ailes, the late former network president. The Houston Astros, who called up outfield prospect Derek Fisher from Class AAA Fresno, will face the Boston Red Sox this weekend, with right-handed closer Matt Barnes expected to play. For the sequel to 1996’s Great White Hype, retired undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC fighter Conor McGregor agreed to a boxing match on Aug. 26. A Texas couple was arrested and charged after authorities found 600 pounds of meth-laced candy, some of which were shaped like Star Wars characters R2-D2 and Yoda, in the couple’s home. A 21-year-old Maine woman, who is a vegetarian, drowned a rabies-infected raccoon in a puddle of mud on a walking trail she had been jogging along.

Thursday 06.15.17

How now, brown cow: 7 percent of American adults believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. A day after saying that “everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” President Trump tweeted that “some very bad and conflicted people,” presumably members of the FBI, were carrying out “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history.” The Uber driver who shuttled Buffalo Bills cornerback Shareece Wright 540 miles from Chicago to Buffalo, New York, last week is an Iranian refugee who was tortured by Iranian intelligence agents on multiple occasions and hopes to one day become an astronaut; Wright, who was rushing to get to voluntary team workouts, injured his calf during minicamp. In more disturbing Uber news, the company is being sued by a woman who was sexually assaulted by one of the company’s drivers. Dennis Rodman, while still in North Korea, gave two books to country leader Kim Jong Un: Where’s Waldo? and President Trump’s The Art of the Deal. Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was issued a five-game suspension by the NCAA for his role in the hiring of exotic dancers for players and recruits; the panel that issued the punishment said in its findings that “NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts.” During the Warriors’ championship parade in Oakland, California, forward Draymond Green wore a shirt with “Quickie” written on the front, with the “Q” in the same font as the Quicken Loans logo; the Cleveland Cavaliers play in Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland forward LeBron James responded to the T-shirt on Instagram with a caption reading “That’s what she said, HUH?!?!?”; fellow NBA superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden “liked” the photo. Hours later, Green responded with a photo of James with the caption “Them dubs finally made him go bald!!! Congrats bro @kingjames.” A 71-year-old Kansas City man who robbed a bank because he’d “rather be in jail than be at home” with his wife was sentenced to six months of home confinement.

FRIDAY 06.16.17

E-commerce juggernaut Amazon, like most of America, spent a lot of money at Whole Foods, purchasing the supermarket chain for $13.7 billion. President Trump admitted that he is “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” Rod Rosenstein, the purported “man” who told Trump to fire FBI director James Comey, has, like his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reportedly considered recusing himself from the Russia investigation. To add to the president’s exceptional week, his approval rating dropped to 35 percent in a new poll. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, apparently bored with life and ready to die at the age of 31, will race a great white shark. After his bodyguards savagely beat protesters last month at the Turkish Embassy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized American authorities’ response, asking, “What kind of law is this? If my bodyguards cannot protect me, then why am I bringing them to America with me?” NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who is black, said he is the “black Steph Curry,” who is also black. The Boston Police Department’s Twitter account sent out a photo of an officer with three black girls along with the caption: “The #BPD Ice Cream Truck gives kids a reason to run towards our officers and not away from them”; the tweet was later deleted. President Trump’s lawyer hired his own lawyer. LeBron James, ironically nicknamed “King James,” said the only two people who can score on him in the post are “Shaquille O’Neal in his prime … and Jesus Christ.” Minnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd violated the terms of his house arrest by drinking alcohol; Floyd blamed the failed tests on Kombucha tea.

A Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight is about the green, but also about black and white The great white hope or great white hype?

In the world of combat sports, anything is possible. Even the fabled Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor superfight, which is becoming more reality than rumor with each passing day. Although separated by sport, with Mayweather the pound-for-pound and pay-per-view king of boxing, and McGregor, the reigning face of the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC), a cross-combat sport fight between the two offers what their respective sports cannot: record-breaking revenue, and a “great white hope” that has long eluded championship boxing.

Race is a big part of boxing’s venerable history and the UFC’s meteoric rise. Since 2000, the UFC has skyrocketed from a $2 million to a $4 billion franchise. UFC fight cards involving their two biggest stars, Ronda Rousey and McGregor in particular, net between 1 million and 2 million pay-per-view purchases, topping everybody in the boxing game (except Mayweather). Boxing, on the other hand, has continued to decline.

Once the second-most popular sport in the U.S., boxing in its early days featured a stable of white champions —such as Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano — who captured the attention of white men, who then filled stadium seats for fights. With Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, who claimed the title in 1908 and held it for seven years, promoters scrambled to line up a slew of white fighters to reclaim the “world’s greatest title.”

Nearly three decades after Johnson, two bouts between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling intersected with World War II, and the geopolitical and racial dimensions of the fights made them global spectacles that were far bigger than boxing. Beginning in the 1960s, the sport witnessed a virtual disappearance of white superstars, particularly in the celebrated heavyweight division, moving Muhammad Ali to claim, “Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”

WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. works out at the Mayweather Boxing Club on April 14, 2015, in Las Vegas.

JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The sport’s white fan base was still strong during the golden era of the heavyweight division, and promoters scrambled to pit a white contender opposite Ali’s unapologetic display of blackness to keep their attention. Yet, while Jerry Quarry and George Chuvalo made for dramatic promotions that capitalized on race and the black vs. white binary, Ali always came out on top. Gerry Cooney, the heavyweight division’s last viable great white hope, was knocked out in 1982 by the superior fighter Larry Holmes in a highly anticipated fight shamelessly promoted around race and allegations of “reverse racism.”

The decline of the heavyweight division, and the disappearance of visible white champions in the sport at large, gradually led to the exodus of the white male market from the sport. Today, boxing is widely regarded as a niche sport supported mainly by black, Latino and immigrant fan bases, and its modern stable of superstars – Mayweather, the Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and hard-hitting Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, aka “GGG” – embody the demographics of the sport’s biggest fan bases.

With no great white American hope in the ring, and no promising contender on the horizon, boxing is still without what it needs to capture the attention of the coveted white male fan base. McGregor, far more the mixed martial artist than boxer, offers what the sport has long fantasized about: a brash, charismatic showman outside of the ring who not only talks a good game, but delivers by way of victories and the brutal knockouts fans crave. Especially the legions of white male fans who have come to adore him and flock to the UFC en masse to see his fights.

Since Dana White assumed leadership of the UFC in 2001, the league became boxing’s greatest competitor. While boxing failed to produce visible white champions, White and the UFC opened the door and actively promoted a diverse range of fighters, prominent among them white fighters, that would eventually become the biggest brands and most familiar faces of the MMA world. McGregor not only follows in their footsteps, but since his rise in 2014, has become the sport’s biggest superstar ever. His pay-per-view numbers shattered previous records, and the McGregor brand has become a household name that transcends the world of combat sports. Certainly, McGregor’s success is largely attributed to his showmanship, fighting style and, most importantly, his ability to back it all up by winning.

However, in a world (of combat sports) where the racial identity of the champion is big business, McGregor’s whiteness has maximized his ability to cash in, and the UFC to reap even greater dividends.

White and McGregor, Mayweather and his de facto promoter Al Haymon – the central figures behind the Mayweather vs. McGregor superfight – are intimately familiar with the specific demographics that follow their respective sports, and understand the salience of race in a showdown that pits boxing’s longtime kingpin with the UFC’s biggest star. For the sport of boxing, the superfight would summon the white male fan base and its enormous dollar back. For probably just one megafight, or if McGregor could pull off a near miracle, present boxing with the larger-than-life white fighter it has not had in decades.

For McGregor, fighting Mayweather offers him an opportunity to make more money than he ever has from a fight in the UFC. Although his November 2016 victory earned him an estimated $12 million, the largest total purse in the sport’s history, a superfight with Mayweather stands to bring McGregor at least three times that amount. Mayweather – whose undefeated record (49-0), air of invincibility and brash displays of money and materialism paved the way to blockbuster pay-per-view numbers – is the only opponent in the world who can bring McGregor the enormous paydays he seeks.

With two fighters unified by flamboyance and mouths made for trash talk, but separated by sport and race, a Mayweather vs. McGregor promotion would be epic. More than epic, it would be must-see television. The buildup of the fight would showcase, front and center, two supremely confident and charismatic fighters backed by their legions of adoring fans.

Mayweather has a predominantly black and Latino fan base who not only takes to his otherworldly skills within the ring, but also the larger-than-life persona he has strategically cultivated beyond it. Mayweather fans do not order a Mayweather fight for a knockout, but because they have become smitten with the character, or, in a sport where connecting with a depleting fan base means everything, the caricature. “Money Mayweather” carried himself more like a rap star than a prizefighter, throwing money just as often as he did jabs while promoting a fight.

While McGregor’s whiteness has fueled his success in the UFC, a league predominantly supported by a white male fan base, Mayweather’s representation of blackness has garnered considerable criticism, but attracted millions upon millions of paying spectators. Race has been at the center of their respective climbs within boxing and MMA, and standing between them when (and if) they meet inside the ring will be what the world of boxing has long waited for – that elusive hope of greatness to be re-bestowed on the crown of a white champion, and in the minds of the white men they so desperately want back as fans.

The buildup for a Mayweather vs. McGregor superfight offers that hope. On the other hand, the actual fight itself is nothing but hype. For McGregor, it’s a cash grab. On the other hand, for Mayweather, the real opponent is not McGregor but another white fighter — Marciano — who finished his celebrated career at 49-0. Beating McGregor would also mean beating Marciano, and by retiring at a perfect 50-0, Mayweather would at once vanquish boxing’s last great white hope, and the fighting Irishman who carries his sport and the hopes of his white male fan base on his shoulders.

Daily Dose: 3/6/17 Floyd Mayweather Jr. has enemies across the pond

The radio keeps calling, so we keep answering. On Sunday, The Morning Roast got off as usual, and this morning, we filled in for The Dan Le Batard Show. Here’s Sunday. Here’s today. People hated us, which is a good thing.

This travel ban refuses to go away. The White House has retooled this effort as a way to tear apart families under the guise of keeping people safe. Still not sure I understand that logic considering that most of the threats to the people of this nation very much come from inside our own borders, but whatever. In the new deal, Iraq is cut out from the other nations that will trigger scrutiny from TSA, but fundamentally, the idea is still there. Meanwhile, immigrants are being shot left and right for reasons we don’t know.

So, recently we found some new planets. Like, for real, they located a bunch of new places that might actually be habitable to humans, some 40 light years away. If I’m being honest, I don’t really understand space. I don’t particularly get how we can legitimately send people to other planets, like, say, Mars. And once I start contemplating what the concept of it is, I get really nervous thinking about the gravity of what is the great beyond. Check out this creepy story about what will happen to us if we actually get to Mars.

Finally, we’re coming to an end. The season finale of The Bachelor is tonight, and it couldn’t be coming a minute sooner. Nick Viall got rid of Corinne, which means she got as far as she needed to in order to get famous, but also didn’t have to deal with the awkwardness of the fantasy suite. Now, we’re looking at either Raven or Vanessa, since, although she’s still on the show, we know that Rachel is The Bachelorette. There’s also that small matter of Raven’s sex life. Should be fun, plus the women tell all.

There are some easy ways to know when someone doesn’t like you. No. 1 on the list is when the person says, ‘I don’t like you.’ No. 2 is when the person does something wildly disrespectful to you, and shows little to no remorse even after he or she knows your feelings have been hurt. Then, there’s the third level, which involves going to lengths to destroy one’s personal items as a way to send a message, a la Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale. Someone set Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s car on fire in England, which is pretty dang terrifying.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Banksy is known for his elaborate pranks and political demonstrations in the form of art, but this latest one on the West Bank in Bethlehem, Palestine, is really something. It’s a hotel that boasts the worst view in the world, which is really quite depressing on multiple levels.

Snack Time: We literally have zero idea of what Michael Jordan is talking about here, but anytime you say something this ridiculous, we’re going to laugh. Sorry, MJ.

Dessert: If you still haven’t seen Get Out, go do it. Hopefully your experience won’t be as bad as this one.