A number of Christian-identifying churches nationwide hosted viewing parties late Saturday into the early hours of Sunday morning for those interested in watching the Mayweather v. McGregor fight as Floyd Mayweather, who has spent time in jail for domestic battery, and Conor McGregor, who once said he would “whoop Jesus’ [expletive]” in a fight, punched each other in hopes of a knock-out.
The fight, which had been hyped-up with much pomp and pride with both men using profane “smack talk” in boasting themselves as being better than the other, was held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Corona beer serving as a sponsor. The company’s name was emblazoned across the boxing ring, and also on the tops of the scantily-clad women that at times took front and center, who had been described in reports as “sexy ring girls [that were] sure to have viewers’ jaws dropping.”
“What better city than Las Vegas than to take a chance? The city is built on gambling. I’m taking a gamble, but it’s worth it,” Mayweather said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“I certainly know I’m going to win,” McGregor also remarked at the event. “… You ever had a shin bone bounce off of your cheekbone? You ever come through that? That’s the game I come from. So, they can say what they want. I’ve come through a lot tougher than any of these have come through.”
In 2015, when asked how he would fair in a fight against Jesus in the octagon, McGregor replied with laughter, “There’s not a man alive that can beat me! But Jesus ain’t alive, is He? So I don’t [expletive] know. Maybe He can come back from the dead. I don’t know. I’d still whoop His [expletive].”
Both Mayweather and McGregor repeatedly used vulgar language, epithets and profanity in taunting each other in the days leading up to the event, which raised concerns among commentators, along with other aspects. Mike Bianci of the Orlando Sentinel called the event a fight between a “domestic abuser and a borderline racist.”
“Mayweather has been accused of violence against women too many times to chronicle here,” he wrote. “He has pleaded guilty twice in domestic-violence cases and another time was actually convicted only to have the charges erased years later. Six years ago, he served 90 days in prison for hitting his ex-girlfriend in front of two of their children.”
“As if Mayweather’s despicable transgressions aren’t enough to make American sports fans cringe, McGregor’s racially charged comments leading up to the farce, er, fight were disgusting as well. The racist remarks are too insulting to repeat,” he said.
Nonetheless, a number of churches nationwide chose to host special viewing parties of the Mayweather v. McGregor match, either as a time of general fellowship and/or as an effort to tie the fight into Scripture, using the house of God to watch the men in their quest to knock out the other.
“New Hope Las Vegas will be hosting a special viewing of the BIG FIGHT between Floyd Mayweather & Connor McGregor directly after a SPECIAL message ‘Fighting the Good Fight of Faith’ from Pastor Vic Ortiz on Saturday,” New Hope Las Vegas posted to social media (caps in original). “Be sure to BRING a potluck dish. Join in community and fellowship with us for this special occasion. Bring your friends, family, and food. We’ll see you all there.”
“If you want to watch cable T.V., if you want to watch Conor McGregor [and] Floyd Mayweather fight, come on down here. We’re holding it for free [as] our gift to you,” a representative of Serve Church from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania also said in an online video.
“CFTN TUCSON is hosting a live watch party of the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. There will be food and drinks provided! Suggested donation is $5 and doors open at 5:30! Invite your family and friends to come out and enjoy a wonderful night of fights, food and fellowship!” Church for the Nations in Tuscon, Arizona similarly posted.
“Join Vertical Church Albuquerque at Pastor Jeremy’s house as we gather together to further get to know each other, eat snacks, socialize, and watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight,” Vertical Church Albuquerque in New Mexico also wrote on its website. “Don’t want to watch the fight? No problem! Just come to hang out and socialize to further grow our community.”
Christian News spoke with Jeremy Hickman about the event, but he did not wish to comment for this story.
Various professing Christians likewise posted about the match online, noting that they had either attended the viewing party at their church, or had watched the fight at home and thought God should give them credit for still making it to church hours later.
“Enjoying the fellowship as we wait for the main event. My pastor is the best!! Fight party at Little Rock Baptist Church! Yes, at church! I love these people!” wrote Latanya Blankney, who attends Little Rock Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey.
“Stayed up until 3 a.m. post Mayweather/McGregor fight and still up at 8 a.m. for church. Jesus better love me,” joked Robert Shelby Bailey of Bentonville, Arkansas.
However, Ryan Denton of the Texas-based Christ in the Wild Ministries and former New Mexico pastor, told Christian News Network that he was grieved that such debauchery was being presented in the house of God.
“It’s tragic to think that some so-called churches are promoting a couple of young men filled with pride beating each other to a pulp for [riches],” he said. “In the [early Church], the Christians were the ones getting torn apart by lions inside the stadium because they refused to engage in the evils of the world. Today, professing Christians [have joined] the hooting and hollering in the stands.”
“In a day when so-called churches are ordaining women pastors and promoting homosexual marriage and abortion, it really doesn’t surprise me that some are celebrating violence and carnality on their big screens and calling it fellowship. But it does grieve me terribly,” Denton also remarked. “When did Christ become so puny and powerless that He had to be replaced with a couple hours of violence?”
“I have the greatest job in the world. I get loads of cash for beating the cr*p out of people. And I’m very good at it,” McGregor said in 2015.
Denton outlined that while some might say that it’s just a sport and for fun, the matter goes much deeper than that.
“The Church’s job has never been to entertain,” he said. “In fact, it could be said that, in part, the Church exists to help wean the flock off of entertainment as it grows greater and greater in the knowledge of God. Repentance is an act of turning from the world and entertainment and its sins, and turning toward Christ. These churches are stunting the flock’s growth in Christ, if indeed there are even any true sheep going to these events.”
Denton noted that while the world craves watching men beat each other for blood and bounty, Christians should be different as Scripture says that God hates violence.
“The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in Heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates,” Psalms 11:4-5 reads.
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me,” Psalm 101:3 also states.
Denton further pointed to Colossians 3:1-2, which exhorts, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”