Tuesday, June 06, 2023  |


Mikaela Mayer turned down MMA offer to stick with boxing

Mikaela Mayer. Photo by Getty Images
Fighters Network

After representing the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics, undefeated junior lightweight contender Mikaela Mayer nearly left boxing for mixed martial arts.

“Mikaela had an opportunity to fight for an MMA organization, Bellator,” manager George Ruiz told The Ring. “But she really wanted to (stick) with boxing.”

Unlike most of her male counterparts, there were virtually no lucrative options for Mayer, but Ruiz urged his pupil to think logically.

Top Rank had already made it known that they were interested in signing Mayer.

Ruiz said of the predicament: “It was a situation where I said, ‘Look, let’s just sit down with Top Rank and see what they have to say.'”

It turns out; the company had plenty to say.

Nearly three years ago to the day, Mayer inked an exclusive promotional agreement with Top Rank, and she couldn’t be more pleased with how her career has turned out to this point.

“I say, ‘thank God,'” Mayer said of her decision to remain a boxer. “I am so happy that I didn’t (sign with Bellator).”

But before Top Rank was willing to invest in Mayer, she had to put forward an impressive pitch.

“Top Rank is the best promoter in the world (and after our initial discussion), they decided to believe in women’s boxing,” she continued. “They were on board, but it was up to me to prove that I was worth their investment.”

Mayer (12-0, 5 knockouts), 30, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, will attempt to prove her worth once more against potentially her toughest opponent yet in Helen “Iron Lady” Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs), 31, of Nigeria.

Speaking with The Ring Wednesday morning, Joseph went on a verbal assault against Mayer, accusing Top Rank of padding her record with easy fights, and boldly predicted she would knock her out.

Mayer, who had around 135 amateur fights, chuckled at Joseph’s claims.

“She is (one-dimensional), and she is nowhere near my level,” Mayer claimed. “I know exactly what she is going to do on Tuesday and that’s pressure me. But that’s what everyone tries to do.

“She may have more professional fights than me, but anyone who knows anything about boxing can see that she is nowhere near as skilled as I am,” she asserted. “I’ve faced a ton of pressure fighters, and once they feel my power when they run into my shots, they slow down. I definitely see Joseph slowing down after two rounds.”

Regarding her adversary’s story on the struggles to land fights in her home region, Mayer said that she should be thankful they are on the same platform together.

“She should be happy that women’s boxing has grown and that promoters like Top Rank are now supporting us,” Mayer said. “She should know that no woman in the sport has had an easy path. I respect her hustle, and she will soon respect mine.”