(This story first published over at usatoday.com.)
LAS VEGAS — At 3:30 a.m. Thursday, less than three days before his fight against Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather was where no boxer has ever been: at his own strip club, chatting up topless dancers, singing along to rap music and holding court even though his 49-0 record will be at stake Saturday night.
Mayweather assured this was no publicity stunt — that he’s at the club every day and will be even the day he fights McGregor at T-Mobile Arena.
“Nobody can beat me,” he said repeatedly when asked about the wisdom of his nocturnal schedule this week.
On Thursday, Mayweather pulled up at 2:45 a.m. in a white Rolls Royce at his club called Girl Collection, with a collection of about two dozen topless dancers awaiting his arrival. He worked the main room in the 7,000-square foot club for about a half hour before settling into a VIP section with four dancers. He directed a pair of the women to dance and soaked it all up.
At one point, he peeled off hundred dollar bills each for a pair of strippers who pole danced at his request and dispatched one known as Red Rose.
“Red Rose to the main stage,” he hollered with a grin, and after she made her way to stage and began gyrating, Mayweather started to explain how he ended up at this club the same week as his hotly anticipated bout against McGregor.
Mayweather said he came up with plans for the upscale club — which he says is a gentlemen’s club because dancers remove only their tops — when he was in prison. In 2012, the boxer was sentenced to two months for domestic abuse.
“When I was locked up and doing time, I drew the club up,” he said, looking for a document on his cell phone. “Yes, look. Here go my notes. My lawyer saved them for me.”
Noting that women “never go out of style,” Mayweather said half-naked dancers, liquor and music are a lucrative mix. Especially when you’re charging $50 cover with a two-drink minimum. (A bottle of Patron Platinum is available for $2,700, and so are bottles of beer for $16 apiece.)
Mayweather says he doesn’t get involved with the women who work at the club.
“You know, I already got a lot of women already,” Mayweather said. “I got a lot of women, because having one is too close to having none. So you can’t be hanging out with the girls in the club, because it will cause problems.”
Speaking of problems, Mayweather said there are none when it comes to being the father of four young children and the owner of a strip club. In fact, he said his 17-year-old daughter, Iyanna, “loves it.’’
“I always tell my kids the truth,” Mayweather said. “And that’s what they like about me. We have an honest relationship. And I told my daughter someday they’re going to run this.”
Mayweather made it clear his business interests stretch beyond the strip club. He said he owns a “bunch of skyscrapers” and is about to open a legal marijuana dispensary. He noted he doesn’t smoke or drink.
“I think that’s the reason I had such a long career,” Mayweather, 40, said “is that I never drink liquor, and I never engage in drugs.”
Expected to make more than $150 million from his fight against McGregor, Mayweather said he’ll make a small fortune at his club that same night. Much of it has been booked for an after-fight party that will start at midnight, according to Mayweather, who said he’s renting his VIP room for $30,000 and another $20,000 for the VIP section on which he left his fingerprints.
“I went with the scheme red, because red’s real sexy,” he said. “We call this the red zone.”
But he knows some people think he’s entered the danger zone — or a foolish zone — by spending so much time at the club the same week as the big fight.
Mayweather said his time at the club doesn’t disrupt his schedule or cut into his rest because he’s usually in bed by 5 a.m. and asleep until 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. Even still, might spending a few hours every day in a strip club undermine Mayweather on fight night?
“You’ll see,” he said.
For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.
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