Ronda Rousey wasn’t even a blip on the radar to Floyd Mayweather a few days ago, but, after winning an ESPY for Best Female Athlete, the UFC women’s bantamweight champ received both a congratulations and an apology from the undefeated boxing legend.
“Yeah, I wish her a congratulations because I didn’t know who she was,” Mayweather explained to Fight Hub TV. “I apologize because I didn’t know. I’m used to watching football and basketball, like I’m not really into boxing like that. When they tell me ‘Floyd you need to check out a fighter, you need to scout a fighter,’ I’ll say ‘Well let me see him. We need to sign him.’”
Back in February, Rousey told Power 106 FM that she could beat Mayweather in an MMA fight. Despite facing the greatest boxer in the world, Rousey felt the grappling and ground elements of an MMA contest would tip an otherwise one-sided fight in her favor.
When appearing on ESPN’s Highly Questionable, UFC President Dana White not only agreed with Rousey’s assessment of the hypothetical matchup, but he even went as far as claiming she would hurt Mayweather badly. In recent months, the story has taken on a life of its own. White and Rousey can hardly make a public appearance without being asked about Mayweather.
It was initially assumed that Mayweather had caught wind of the story and just simply chose not to feed into it. David Greisman of BoxingScene.com recently sat down with the boxing star, and it was revealed that Mayweather hadn’t even heard of Rousey. In fact, he referred to her as a “he.”
“I don’t know who he is,” said Mayweather.
On Wednesday, Rousey became the first MMA fighter to win an ESPY when she was named Best Female Athlete at the 2014 ESPN Awards Show. She beat out WNBA all-star Maya Moore, University of Connecticut guard Breanna Stewart and 2014 Olympic gold medalist in slalom Mikaela Shiffrin.
Earlier this month, she recorded a blistering 16-second knockout over Alexis Davis in her fourth consecutive UFC title defense. Perhaps this apology could lead to some form of partnership down the road.
Mayweather says he’s interested in branching out and expanding his Mayweather Promotions team to other contact sports, including MMA.
“Of course. Mayweather promotions, we are the past, the present and the future of sports and entertainment, and yes, we will get involved with other contact sports in the future,” he said.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.