Saturday, June 24, 2017

U2's U-Shaped Concert

I was only five years old when The Joshua Tree was released, and still roughly a decade away from U2 fandom.  So, it was fun to see the band revisit their most popular album 30 years after its release by doing two things the band never does — tour an old album rather than a new release, and play an entire album from start to finish.  Several bands have been doing the ‘play the entire record’ gimmick in recent years, and I’ve actually seen this in person myself, when Pearl Jam made the odd decision to play Binaural front-to-back when I saw them last year.  It’s actually quite rare that U2 even plays an entire album at ANY point in their live history.  Before this tour, Boy was the only U2 album that had ever had all of its tracks played in full during a live show.

So the stage was set last night in Toronto.  The players!

* Your humble narrator, seeing his astonishing eighth U2 concert!

* My buddy Trev, seeing his fifth U2 concert (all with me), despite the fact that he isn’t really that huge a fan of the band!  What a true concert compadre!  He keeps going despite the fact that he has never heard All I Want Is You, his favourite U2 song, played during any of these shows.  Wait, maybe that’s WHY he keeps going.  Once they finally play it when he’s in attendance, he’ll just leave the building immediately.

* My buddy Eric, seeing his second U2 concert!  Eric joined Trev and I for a Vertigo Tour show in 2005 and really enjoyed it despite a near-total lack of knowledge about the band and their music.  (Sample question after the show: “I liked that Vertigo song, is that one of their hits?”)  Eric was supposed to join us again in 2009 but broke his leg playing rec league baseball two weeks before the concert, and then in 2015, someone (uh, named Clark, or Park or something) was only able to get single tickets to two Innocence & Experience shows.  So Eric was making his triumphant return to seeing U2 in concert, 12 years later, and this time actually knew five or six of the numbers on the setlist.  Progress!

* Joanne, seeing her second U2 concert!  The little sister I never had, to the point where I was actually a bridesmaid (you read that right) at her wedding.  This was also the first time Jo and I had seen a U2 show together, as *someone* (that same Clark/Park guy) got her tickets to a concert in 2009 but she couldn’t attend due to a last-minute pHd crunch.  Boo to higher learning!

* Greg, seeing his very first U2 concert!  Greg is like a brother, except for the fact that he’s married to Joanne, so having a brother and sister marry each other is pretty weird.  Greg rated his first U2 experience as “really good,” so yet another satisfied customer.

* Marianne, seeing her third U2 concert!  Marianne is Joanne’s actual sister, which makes her my step-little sister?  Though Marianne is older than me, so step-bigger sister?  This analogy is falling apart.  Anyway, during the concert, I learned that the combination of Joanne and Marianne screaming at the same time creates a noise so piercing that I honestly thought there was a feedback issue in the stadium’s sound system.  Greg was next to them and now may be deaf in his left ear.

We took in the show from the upper levels of Rogers Centre on a hot and muggy day in Toronto, and I can’t tell you how relieved we were when the roof began to open up about 40 minutes before showtime.  Rain earlier in the day gave way to clear skies at night, so obviously someone in stadium services or with the band themselves made the correct call to let the fans enjoy U2 on a lovely summer’s evening.

The stage was pretty bare-bones, reflecting their old 1987 stage, just souped-up for modern times by having the big backdrop be a video screen rather than….well, just a backdrop.  There was a catwalk in the shape of a Joshua tree that stretched out into the crowd, and U2 played their first four songs of the night on that B-stage before moving back onto the main stage to kick off the full-album segment.  There was also a staple Joshua Tree image on the screen that, weirdly, wasn’t sized properly.  The top third was above the actual screen, so either the tree should’ve been properly done to scale or the screen should’ve just been larger.  Maybe it was a metaphor for the show, as you’ll see later.

Here’s the full setlist…

*Sunday Bloody Sunday….an unconventional opener choice but a strong one.  Larry Mullen came out on stage by himself to applause and started playing the song’s legendary drum intro, followed by Edge strolling out playing the guitar riff, then Bono entering with the opening vocal, and then Adam Clayton trailing behind adding in the bass.  Great gimmick to kick off a show! 
*New Year’s Day
*Bad….with a large portion of “Suzanne,” as a tribute to Leonard Cohen
*Pride
*Where The Streets Have No Name
*I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
*With Or Without You
*Bullet The Blue Sky
*Running To Stand Still
*Red Hill Mining Town
….this was the Joshua Tree track that U2 had never played live even once prior to this tour.  Ironically, the band originally had it earmarked as their first single from the album (!) except Bono’s voice couldn’t take singing it on a nightly basis.  This song faded into obscurity while WOWY ended up as one of U2’s most iconic hits.  Wacky!
*In God’s Country
*Trip Through Your Wires
*One Tree Hill
*Exit
….one of the real highlights of the concert, just an absolute fireball of an energetic song.  Bono even ditched the glasses and donned his old Joshua Tree hat, to really recapture the 1987 vibe.
*Mothers Of The Disappeared
(((encore break)))
*Miss Sarajevo
*Beautiful Day
….rainbow imagery on the screen and slightly reworked with a larger theme of inclusiveness in a nod to both Canada as a nation of acceptance and for Toronto’s Pride weekend
*Elevation
*Vertigo
*Ultraviolet
….rebranded for this tour as an ode to influential women throughout history, and also Lena Dunham for some reason.
*One
*I Will Follow
 

U2 had been playing a new track (The Little Things That Give You Away) at some of the earlier shows on this tour as, interestingly, the closing number.  Sort of a coming attraction for the band’s “upcoming” album.  I use the quote marks since who the hell knows when U2 will actually release this, given their rep for delaying and/or shelving records entirely, BUT the new Songs Of Experience disc is allegedly coming in December.

Rather than the coming attraction of the new song, U2 has seemingly decided to make this a straight greatest-hits set.  It is probably a wise decision given the one flaw in this whole Joshua Tree tribute idea — nobody really knows the back half of the album.

Now, TJT is one of the best albums of all time, hands-down.  As a record, the tracklist flows very well.  In a live setting, however, there’s a problem since the album is so enormously front-loaded.  I mean, when you have arguably U2’s three biggest as the record’s first three tracks, then the next two best-known Joshua Tree songs fourth and fifth in the order, it leaves a pretty long stretch of lesser-known material right in the middle of the show.

The result was something I’d never seen before at a U2 concert: an extended dead period.  The crowd was standing and rabid for the first seven songs, all classics.  We stayed jazzed through BTBS, since how could you not.  Then, during Running To Stand Still, you could actually see the waves of people gradually starting to sit down around the stadium and by RHMT it was nothing but butts in seats.  That continued all the way through Miss Sarajevo* until Beautiful Day kicked in, and then you could see the masses getting back to their feet and staying there through the hit-strewn encore of high-energy songs.

* = I’d question the placement of another lesser-known song right after the Joshua Tree back half, though I’m not sure where else you can fit it into the setlist.  It certainly can’t be removed entirely, since as the song’s video footage indicated, U2 is making a point of highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis with this performance.

Don’t get me wrong, the JT back half is a strong bunch of songs and they were performed well, with Exit being a particular highlight.  It’s just that U2 left themselves little room for flexibility by committing themselves to play the entire record in order, when in a perfect world, they’d mix and match things to create a better flow for the evening.  When touring a new album, naturally the band would mix the new stuff in amongst the older stuff, not just play something like 5-6 new songs all in a row.  (The one exception was when they kicked off the old Zoo TV tour with something like eight Achtung Baby songs, but those songs all ruled, so it’s a push.) 

Since the tour is almost half over, it’s probably too late to fix this issue.  The only solution I can see would be to play all 11 Joshua Tree songs, but not in the actual order.  Start with WTSHNN, then move into the faster-paced numbers and Still Haven’t Found, then go into the “heart of darkness” part of the set that U2 always likes in their concerts by putting Bullet and Exit back-to-back, following that up with RTSS or One Tree Hill for a bit of hope, then WOWY, then Mothers to end the album proper.  This creates a bit more natural flow and it spaces the big hits throughout the 11 tracks, rather than having them all kick off the set.

With the staid middle portion of the show in mind, it was a rare U2 show that wasn’t a total hit for me.  As such, I’d have to rank it no better than second-last of the eight concerts I’d seen.  (Last place is my first-ever U2 concert, a Toronto show during the Elevation Tour, which was still a great experience but it has paled in comparison to my other times seeing them.)  It was a great idea for a tour that maybe required a bit more planning, like that video screen that didn’t quite fit the entire tree.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Vampire Diar...Tweets

The Count from Sesame Street has an official Twitter account (doesn't everyone) that has a very characteristic gimmick.  Once or twice per day, the account simply counts a different number in sequence.  For example...








This has been going on since the feed's inception, as far as I can tell.  May 22 of this year seemed like a day just like any other...


....except this was the last tweet.  After almost a full month, the feed is still silent.

It begs the question, did something happen to the Count?!  Did he accidentally walk into the sun and get vaporized?  Did his bloodlust suddenly overcome even his love of counting and he, like, murdered Ernie or something?  Was the Count finally revealed as the true cause of Mr. Hooper's death all those years ago, and Sesame Street just leveled the audience with a massive plot twist in its season finale?  I'm not sure I'm prepared for next season's plotline of Big Bird, Snuffy and a Muppet-ized version of Sarah Michelle Gellar out for revenge against Countgelus.

I won't lie, I looked up "1329" on Wikipedia just to see if that was the year Vlad The Impaler died or something, and this was all just some very clever and literate reference from whomever maintains the Twitter feed.  No corresponding historical reference could be found, however.  What was I thinking, "whomever maintains the feed."  It's clearly run by the Count himself!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day

Scene: A few years ago, my parents' house. I stroll into the living room to find my father watching the end of "Taken."

Me: Hey Dad, if I was kidnapped by an Eastern European prostitution ring, would you come and rescue me?

Dad: Sure!  Any excuse to go to Paris!

FIN

On that note, Happy Father's Day, Dad! Other than not flying to Paris to kill dozens of armed thugs, you've always been there for me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Cruise Ranking

The Ringer, in their infinite wisdom, published a worst-to-best ranking of Tom Cruise’s movies that just seemed really off-base to me.  Some people might argue that since I’ve seen only around half of Cruise’s movies, I’m in no better position to make a ranking.  Some of those same people might argue that I’m not even really a fan of Cruise, so what business do I have in judging his filmography.  Those people can shut up!

LEGITIMATELY BAD MOVIES
24. Vanilla Sky
23. Cocktail
22. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

MEH
21. The Firm
20. Days Of Thunder
19. War Of The Worlds
18. Valkyrie
17. Eyes Wide Shut
16. Austin Powers In Goldmember

PRETTY SOLID AND/OR REWATCHABLE
15. Mission Impossible
14. The Last Samurai
13. Mission Impossible 2 (editor’s note: this movie is admittedly bad but it’s a guilty pleasure, as one of my all-time favourite “watching a bad movie with friends and just ripping it apart” experiences)
12. Jack Reacher
11. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

LEGITIMATELY GOOD MOVIES
10. The Color Of Money
9. Jerry Maguire
8. Tropic Thunder
7. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
6. Rain Man

LEGITIMATELY GREAT MOVIES
5. A Few Good Men
4. Collateral
3. Minority Report
2. Magnolia
1. Edge Of Tomorrow

If the MTV Movie Awards segment featuring Cruise as himself and Ben Stiller as "Tom Crooze" counts, it is definitely in that 'legitimately great' bracket.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trailer On The Orient Express


As a big Agatha Christie fan, I am naturally 100% seeing this film, since it’ll be cool to see a modern version of this classic mystery.  Maybe I’m overreacting to the ‘words on the screen’ aesthetic, but it seems like MOTOE may have a bit of a Sherlock-esque vibe to it.  (Let’s hope it’s more the first season of Sherlock than S4.)  The cast is also appropriately star-studded, if obviously lacking in comparison to the 1974 adaptation — no shame there, as man alive, look at that list of names!  Eleven former Oscar nominees?!  Stand back! 

In fact, this new version isn’t too shabby with six Oscar nominees in the cast.  I admit, I was a little annoyed at the way the credits were presented until I realized they were simply in alphabetical order.  My feeling was that poor Michelle Pfeiffer was being shafted by being lumped in with ‘the others’ while the five bigger names were on the first screen.  I felt Branagh should’ve gone onto the second screen as a sign of good faith, since he was the director of the film anyway and already had extra stroke.

As you can tell, I’m always looking for ways to criticize Kenneth Branagh since he, to put it bluntly, is not a favourite of mine.  For a guy with such a distinguished reputation, I find him to be an incredible ham and an incredibly broad actor.  His only good roles, in my opinion, are the ones that naturally play into that broadness (such as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter, or as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing).  Branagh was also pretty excellent in his adaptation of “Hamlet,” a legitimately great film, though even in that case, he kind of broadened Hamlet out a little bit.

Now, it’s worth noting that Branagh directed Hamlet and Much Ado himself, and his truly bad performances* all came in movies directed by other people.  I’m not sure what this says about Mr. Branagh…is he too nice to turn down instruction from other directors?  Does he get so focused on the filmmaking process when directing that it actually helps his performance by muting his naturally hammy instincts?  Or maybe he’s actually a GOOD actor and I’m just cherry-picking a few bad roles?  Nah, that couldn’t be it.

* 1. his godawful Woody Allen impersonation in Celebrity
2. his half-assed Olivier impression in My Week With Marilyn that somehow earned him an Oscar nomination
3. his terribly broad version of Iago in the Oliver Parker “Othello” adaptation that ruined one of the greatest villains in literary history and must have been an inspiration for Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
4. his villain in Wild Wild West, to which even Jesse Eisenberg would’ve been like, “hmm, he played that a little over the top”


The irony is, I actually like just about every movie Branagh has directed, so I have pretty high hopes for Orient Express.  I’ll refrain from actually discussing the ending even though I’m pretty sure most learned people know it, though for modern (or just dumber) audiences that never read the novel, I’m interested in seeing what the reaction will be to the somewhat unique nature of the mystery’s solution.

Oh, one more beef about the credits.  They listed ten people but couldn’t find room for Olivia Colman?!  Nonsense.  One blog post-in-the-making is simply a listing of my favourite actors, and I recently realized that Colman is absolutely deserving of a spot on the list.  Comedy, drama, she can do it all.  It’s awesome that this woman who began her career as “token woman in Mitchell & Webb sketches” has risen to such prominence.  Give her her due, Branagh!  (Or whoever made the trailer…again, maybe I’m quick to judge him.)  While we’re at it, find credit space for Lucy Boynton, who is also in this movie and came off as a capital-S Star in Sing Street.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Corn Pops Forever

I'm at the store the other day buying cereal* and I came across a box of Corn Pops that expires in October…on my birthday.

Now, I bought the cereal in question because Corn Pops are delicious, but also because I'm vaguely afraid this cereal could be tied to me in some kind of portrait of Dorian Gray-esque manner.  Like, for every Pop that's eaten, that's one step closer to my end of days.  But now that I'm in possession of the box and can control the ebb and flow (eat and flow?) of the contents, I'm now virtually immortal.

This whole scenario was actually a deleted scene from Highlander.  The director cut the scene since having Chris Lambert hoarding boxes of cereal somewhat detracted from the whole sword fights-and-beheading theme.  Still would've done less damage to the franchise than Highlander 2, however.

* = and other groceries, though my diet is "single guy sad" enough that a cereal-specific trip to Shoppers Drug Mart wouldn't be out of the question

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Name O' The Movie

My friend Dave has a theory that every movie should include a character saying the film's title three times, in increasingly panicked fashion.  For instance, in Magnolia, you'd have a tight closeup of, say, Tom Cruise going

(with dawning comprehension) "Magnolia."
(with growing dread) "Magnolia!"
(with a mighty bellow) "MAGNOLIAAAAAAA!"

Anyway, this video is one-third as good as that idea.

Title Drops from Roman Holiday on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Friendly Neighbourhood

I was walking downtown last weekend when I saw a motorcycle cut off an SUV, leading to the SUV driver opening his window and yelling angrily at the cyclist.  Suddenly, a guy dressed in a full Spider-Man costume rolls down the other lane on a skateboard, then yells "getting pretty road-ragey, buddy!" The SUV driver is left dumbfounded and nearby pedestrians (myself included) are openly laughing out loud.

I prefer to think that was the actual Spider-Man.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Survivor Ratings: Sarah

It’s become a running gag in Survivor that the seasons with casts at last half-comprised of returning players are always won by players with middling results in their previous try.*  Sure enough, we add to that legacy with a blah winner in Sarah Lacina winning a blah season overall, minus the wonderful five added chapters in The Book Of Sandra.  Despite my general boredom with Sarah as a Survivor character, she inarguably played a strong game under unusual circumstances, so let’s break down her victory. 

* = the exception, of course, being Sandra’s awesome win in Heroes vs. Villains.  Ah, Queen Sandra.  I was hoping against hope that she could somehow pull out another victory this year, and the crazy part is, she did extraordinarily well.  She had a giant target on her back as the only two-time winner, she had no luck in tribe shuffles….and yet Sandra managed to make it through FOUR tribal councils before even getting a vote.  That is just scary good.  If she’d been shuffled into even a slightly stronger tribe, she gets to make at least the merge and then we’re guaranteed the instant joy that would’ve been Sandra on a jury.  It isn’t any coincidence as soon as Sandra was eliminated, the season took a sharp downturn into ugliness.

How She Won: In short, she was the cop that “played like a criminal,” which is the kind of TV-friendly tagline that Jeff Probst and company just adore.  I can appreciate that Sarah obviously had some compunctions about coming off as scheming or distrustful on national television when her entire profession is built around trust and honesty, but at the end of the day, it’s Survivor.  It’s a game.  “There’s no villain in Monopoly,” as Jon Penner would say.  It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to make that mental leap, but to Sarah’s credit, it was all systems go once she adopted her “criminal” mentality.

As I’ve written before, luck is a gigantic part of every Survivor win, and this was particularly true in a season loaded (or, really, overloaded) with tribe swaps, hidden idols, hidden advantages and goofy twists to try and justify the “Game Changers” tagline.*  It is some great karmic justice that so many of the producers’ favourite characters — Malcolm, Sandra, Michaela and especially Cirie —- were eliminated by all of these twists, and hopefully this convinces the show to dial it back a few notches.  Any so-called all-star season that ends with the who-cares final three of Sarah, Brad Culpepper and Troyzan would hopefully result in some heads rolling in the production offices.   

* = Have we seen the end of the days when a season is just called Survivor: Location?  Given the Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers subtitle for next year, the answer appears to be yes.

Sarah’s biggest achievement was benefitting from all of these twists.  She didn’t even attend tribal council until the sixth vote, and then she was part of two easy calls in eliminating Sandra and Varner.  She was the one that noticed the secret advantage on the reward challenge platform that Michaela ignored, leading to Sarah getting the vote steal and using it properly to eliminate (ironically) Michaela herself.  She was the one who played Sierra so badly that Sierra gave SARAH the legacy idol instead of Brad, her BFF throughout the game, even though Sarah orchestrated Sierra’s elimination specifically to get that idol. 

The legacy idol allowed Sarah to avoid her only direct brush with elimination, as in the infamous tribal council when Cirie was eliminated, Sarah received three votes and would’ve gone home.  And then that led to Sarah’s one true biggest “lucky” break when things were totally out of her hands, as Brad inexplicably decided that Tai was a bigger threat in a final three than Sarah.  Tai!  The guy who’d already crapped the bed in a final three in S32!  The guy whose game nobody respected since he was such a flip-flopper.  I guess Culpepper’s logic was that Tai was more well-liked than Sarah, but while I don’t think Sarah is getting Xmas cards from too many of the jurors, they still clearly thought she brought more to the table than Tai.  Note to self: if I ever get arrested and brought to trial while visiting the greater Tampa Bay area, DO NOT hire Brad Culpepper as my attorney.

Skill set: As mentioned, Sarah did a good job of adapting to all the twists and using them to her advantage.  I’ll also make particular mention of her final tribal council speech, which goes on the short list of most memorable defenses of their game by any winner.  Sarah instantly defused some bad vibes that might’ve been coming her way by explaining her “play like a criminal” act as similar to going undercover to gain trust.  That was outstanding.  It was, pardon the pun, a Get Out Of Jail Free card for her entire game.  I mean, one doesn’t need a great speech when your opponents are Troyzan and Brad “Lionel Hutz” Culpepper, but still, Sarah perfectly owned her actions.  It was a little Heidik-esque in the sense that Sarah couldn’t help but totally burn some people (Sierra, Debbie) and thus they weren’t going to vote for her regardless, and of course Ozzy would totally vicariously vote for the guy who won five challenges as the winner….but ultimately, Sarah made sure that she burned less people than she sent to the jury with relatively good feelings towards her.  Or, at least, better feelings than were felt towards Troyzan and Brad.

Could She Do It Again?: Ironically, now that Sarah has “played like a criminal,” I feel she’s made herself a much bigger target in a hypothetical return season.  We saw how quickly her pal Tony got himself shellacked this season, by comparison.  It’s hard to say if she’d be able to avoid as many problems in her third time as she did in her third time, as we’ve still never really seen how Sarah directly reacts to a situation not going her way.  (She was blindsided in one-off fashion in S28, remember.)

I’m tempted to put her slightly higher than a mid-tier of winners, though as a viewer, I honestly didn’t find her particularly interesting.  She goes into that batch of winners like Tyson, Mike, Michele, Cochran, Todd, etc. whose victory I can respect but I don’t really want to see them on my TV again.  Am I still bitter about Sandra and Cirie getting eliminated amidst a particularly poorly-edited season of Survivor?  Noooooooooooo   

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mehweather MehGregor

The heavily discussed, ahem, "superfight" between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor seems to appeal to.....

* people who will buy any Mayweather pay-per-view
* people who will buy any McGregor PPV
* boxing fans who want to see their sport "defended" by seeing Mayweather beat McGregor senseless
* MMA fans who want to see their sport "defended" by seeing McGregor be the first person to ever defeat Mayweather, or at least put up a competitive showing (more on this later)
* people who just love any sort of hyped-up spectacle
* Mayweather's people, McGregor's people, the UFC itself and the state of Nevada, all of whom stand to make a fortune by promoting this fight

So all in all, it's a pretty significant subsection of humanity.  Nobody doubts that this fight, if it actually does happen, would be a big PPV draw.  There are millions and millions worth of financial reasons why the fight should and may very well happen.

As for me personally, as you might have guessed, I have zero interest in this matchup.  Less than zero, really.  I'm not a boxing fan and still a pretty notable UFC fan, though my interest in that sport has certainly diminished over the last couple of years.  Ironically, it could be that the UFC's gradual shift into becoming boxing (in terms of promoting 'superfights' and big names ahead of title bouts between legitimate contenders) that is hurting my interest.

McGregor is himself somewhat the poster child for this, though like many, I really enjoy watching him fight.  Say what you will about McGregor, but he has backed up his talk --- he cleanly won the UFC featherweight title, and less than a year later, he cleanly won the lightweight title.  In terms of actually watching McGregor compete, I have no complaints....well, as long as he's facing legitimate ranking-determining challenges and not inexplicable matches with Nate Diaz.

The problem is that McGregor has now, for all intents and purposes, become bigger than the UFC.  The company had always been pretty careful about keeping their champions and biggest stars under the UFC's banner and playing by their rules, when it came to regular defenses of their titles.  Sure, you still got the odd bit of nonsense (a title put on hold for months so the champ and challenger could be coaches on an Ultimate Fighter season, or a somewhat dubious challenger suddenly getting a boost in the UFC's own internal rankings to justify a title shot), but by and large, it was still essentially a meritocracy.  With a few exceptions, the UFC has generally always stuck to the pattern of treating their promotion like a sport, and if a guy won enough fights, he'd eventually get his shot at the title.  It wasn't like boxing, where titles and governing bodies are essentially meaningless behind big names and promotional companies.

McGregor, however, is breaking the rulebook.  He has pursued titles, of course, but as a means to an end.  He had a great interest in becoming a two-division champion, but not in actually defending those belts.  As soon as he won the featherweight title, he immediately set his sights on the 155-pound title and then the Diaz fights --- McGregor has since surrendered the FW belt and left the division entirely.  Now that he has won the lightweight belt, it's an open question as to whether or not he'll actually defend it, or move on up to 170 pounds to either challenge Tyrone Woodley or pursue a superfight with Georges St. Pierre, OR just forego MMA altogether for this boxing match pipe dream with Mayweather.  The UFC has allowed this to happen since McGregor = big money, so the company has essentially let him call his shots.  Now, you see the influence creeping into the other divisions, with the likes of Michael Bisping or Woodley suddenly demanding only big-money superfights instead of mandatory title defenses against worthy challengers. 

If McGregor gets this Mayweather fight, it'll net him an eight-figure payday and quite possibly lead to his retirement altogether from combat sports.  He'll have gotten enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life, and McGregor has already discussed retirement now that he's a father.  Assuming he invests wisely, McGregor will never have any need to step back into a UFC cage again.

From the UFC's perspective, they'll be gaining the short-term financial bump of this megafight, with the longer-term challenge of McGregor potentially leaving, the chaos he has left to the UFC's competitive model in his wrought, and (oh yeah) the overwhelming chance that McGregor is going to get humiliated in this boxing match.

Let's not mince words here: McGregor has zero chance of actually beating Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match.  Mayweather, despite being a scumbag, is also one of the best boxers in history.  I realize the surface similarities between boxing and MMA have led to the interest in this matchup, but they are such wildly different sports that this fight is an absurd mismatch.  This is like McGregor challenging LeBron James to a one-on-one in basketball, or McGregor hitting the ice to take on Patrick Chan in a figure skating competition.  Nobody would give McGregor a hope in hell in those matchups, nor would they reasonably expect it to be close....yet for some reason, there is a not-insignificant portion of the public that actually thinks McGregor could knock Mayweather out.

Mayweather could end this fight within a round if he wanted to, or (potentially even worse) he could drag things out for 12 full rounds and just punish McGregor the entire time, if Conor could last or if his corner didn't throw in the towel at some point.  There's also the chance Mayweather could drag it out just because he can, leading to another noncompetitive snoozer that would leave PPV buyers feeling ripped off, like several of his other fights.  McGregor may well be willing to take a beating to make a fortune, since while he's a confident man, he isn't a stupid one.  If you're Mayweather, who loves both money and keeping his perfect record intact, why *not* take an easy fight and guaranteed W against a big box office draw?

It could be that this fight, of course, ends up being a lot of posturing and politicking and no actual negotiations.  There is a theory that this whole thing is just McGregor and Mayweather's way of keeping their names in the public eye, or they're both angling for (respectively) a bigger UFC contract or a bigger payday to fight an actual legit boxer.  If this is the case, then it's only a waste of everyone's time and speculation.  If the fight does happen, it'll be a waste of your PPV dollars.