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Did You Watch the Fight?

I was amused to hear that the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight now has conspiracy theories that the “fix” was in. It was touted as "The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History". Imagine my distress at hearing this disturbing news (insert lots of sarcasm here). Really? How can anyone be surprised or even annoyed that a hyped-to-the-max, commodified, pay-per-view, professional boxing exhibition may have been fixed? My philosophy is to follow Maya Angelou’s advice, if people show you who they are—believe them!

Let’s take a historical tiny taste of some professional sports scandals based on money, that may have followed the same pattern as the M & M fight last Saturday evening:

  • 1919 Chicago White Sox vs. Cincinnati Red in the World Series, the “Black Sox” were found taking bribes to throw the game;
  • 1989 Peter Rose betting on professional baseball games while he was a manager;
  • 2007 NBA, Tim Donaghy, a referee bet on games in which he officiated;
  • 2011 the former world No. 55 Austrian tennis player, Daniel Koellerer, became the first tennis player to be banned for life for attempting to fix matches;
  • 2015 Tom Brady and the New England Patriots deliberately under-inflated footballs used in their victory against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game;
  • 2015 Jackie Robinson West little league baseball team is stripped of their title after recruiting players from outside their team’s boundaries.

What does this unfortunate list of no-no’s say about us? Yes, those involved needed to check their ethical thermometer, but more importantly, what about sports makes even those who don’t need to (i.e. Tom Brady) cheat? It really is very simple—MONEY. Since when did playing team sports become about winning? Well, you might say, that’s obvious Professor Rosner. Professional sports are not about playing; they are about winning and therefore making money. Perhaps paying athletes a reasonable and appropriate amount of money to cover injury and a rather lavish lifestyle or even fat-cat owners aren’t the culprit. Maybe it’s us, the audience. We tend to tolerate a lot of sins for entertainment. So, the lesson here is, don’t watch. Really! (insert lots of sarcasm here).

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