UFC boss Dana White speaks out on the star’s future
UFC president Dana White says the UFC are trying to thrash out a new deal with Irish superstar Conor McGregor, but hinted there’s a chance we may already have seen the last of ‘The Notorious’ inside the octagon.
McGregor hasn’t fought under the UFC banner since his knockout win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016.
And with McGregor now one of the richest sportsmen on the planet following his lucrative boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr earlier this year, White suggested there’s a possibility McGregor’s time in the UFC may be over.
Speaking at the UFC’s Las Vegas headquarters, White said: “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 million.
“I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
White and the UFC are understandably keen to get McGregor’s signature on a new fighting contract soon. The Dubliner is their biggest box office star and the biggest draw in the company’s history.
But the Irishman, who captured the UFC lightweight championship in that November 2016 win over Alvarez, has yet to defend his world title, and White says it’s unclear if the desire is there to return after his monumental payday against Mayweather.
“Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank,” he said. “Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
McGregor hit the headlines earlier this month after jumping into the cage at a Bellator event in Dublin, pushing referee Marc Goddard and slapping a Bellator official.
Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) head Mike Mazzulli was in attendance, and said that the UFC had already moved to punish the Irishman by scrapping plans for him to fight at UFC 219 on December 30 in Las Vegas.
McGregor’s manager Audie Attar swiftly rejected that claim, but White said Mazzulli’s statement was true.
“He was being dealt with by the head of the ABC,” White said.
“We were gonna fight him, regardless of what Audie says. We were working on a fight for him at the end of the year. And he’s just not ready.”
White attributed McGregor’s behaviour in part to the way his life has changed following his rise to prominence and referred to the Irishman’s entourage as “cling-ons”.
“He’s a young, rich kid who is a god in Ireland,” White said. “That’s not the healthiest environment either. It’s all part of it.
“When he travels, he’s got people for days with him. When you make that kind of money, you’re that famous and you’re a professional athlete, you’re gonna have an overload of cling-ons.”
With McGregor out of the picture earlier this year, Ferguson won the interim belt by defeating fellow contender Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in October, then demanded that the Dubliner “defend or vacate” his undisputed crown.
White had previously stated that a McGregor-Ferguson bout was the logical next step, saying: “Tony’s the interim champion, Conor’s the champion, that’s the fight that makes sense. It’s the fight that has to happen.”
But this week he made clear that Ferguson wasn’t in a position to make any demands about a potential unification bout.
“Ferguson has no business to talk about anything,” White stated.
“Listen, we ain’t taking any direction from Ferguson. With [McGregor], it’s not about ‘defend or vacate’. We’re working on a new deal right now. We’ve got to work out this new deal.”
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