For all of you worrying about the lack of pre-fight media events surrounding UFC 229, don’t worry, the proof is in the past.
The biggest fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is upon us and all things considered, it’s been a pretty quiet buildup.
Sure, we’ve seen some social media jabs from the outspoken Irishman in the direction of Team Khabib but it’s hard to deny that there has been a rather noticeable void in terms of actual head-to-head conflict.
I realise it’s disheartening to see but fear not, the blueprint for this event’s promotion can be found in the past.
There have been widespread reports that Conor McGregor is refusing to commit to a hectic media schedule in the leadup to this fight. Certain parallels can be drawn between this and the last fight where there was a very real danger that things would not go well for the Irishman.
No disrespect intended to Eddie Alvarez, of course, but for McGregor’s rematch with Nate Diaz, there was a feeling amongst the MMA community – and Conor’s team, we’re sure – that he was biting off more than he could chew with such a quick turnaround after losing in such a shocking fashion.
UFC 202 was the event and after the fallout between himself and the UFC that saw him announce his ‘retirement’ from the sport, it was clear that the then-featherweight champion was not willing to dive head-first into media obligations.
For UFC 202: Diaz/McGregor II, things were kept to a bare minimum and I would bet a sizeable sum of money on the general layout staying very similar this time around.
The first press conference between the two was scheduled in July, weeks out from the fight itself. There have been rumours of a presser featuring both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor in the early weeks of September and trust me, this will happen.
Like the Diaz/McGregor meeting that came in July of 2016, pairing these two for a twenty-or-so minute media event was an absolute must to give the fans something to keep them going through the barren period that followed.
And there will be a barren period.
UFC 202 still managed to become the highest-selling MMA event in history – an honour it could well surrender to UFC 229.
Expect a press conference announcement for UFC 229 within the next week or two before the duo put their heads down and concentrate on their ongoing fight-camps.
The ground-work will be done and the Instagram back-and-forth will intensify but until fight-week comes around, that is all we should expect to see.
From there, when fight-week hits, you’ll have the ceremonial pre-fight press conference – the very same event that saw the now infamous bottle-throwing incident between Teams McGregor and Diaz.
The week will then wrap up with the official weigh-ins, the ceremonial weigh-ins, and then finally, the fight.
Don’t expect a Ronda Rousey-esque media blackout from the ‘Notorious’ one. That’s not how he rolls.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena