Rather than attend the scheduled press conference in Las Vegas tomorrow for UFC 200, Conor McGregor has dug in his heels with a remarkable statement.
Guess who's back, back again. Conor's back, tell a friend.
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) April 21, 2016
Following his premature retirement plans, Conor McGregor released a statement addressing the ongoing dispute between himself and the UFC.
His retirement tweet saw UFC president Dana White pull him from UFC 200’s main event where he was scheduled to fight Nate Diaz. It transpired that McGregor’s refusal to perform promotional duties, in particular a press conference for the July event, was what prompted White and co. to come down hard on the Irishman.
So, what does this riposte mean?
Conor has offered to attend the third press conference (after the Vegas and Stockton ones) in New York.
“I will offer, like I already did, to fly to New York for the big press conference that was scheduled, and then I will go back into training. With no distractions.”
Appearing on multiple media outlets, Dana White was adamant that McGregor couldn’t absolve himself of those very duties and hope to compete at UFC 200.
Friday is not the first day of promotion. All the fighters are here right now. This is UFC 200.
10 million dollars is going to be spent on marketing. The commercial alone that’s being shot right is over a million dollars.
So, no. Friday isn’t the first day and he’s already missing so, the window is pretty much closed.
With the might of a near-billion dollar company behind them in Zuffa LLC, White and co. would have understandably been confident that McGregor would back down and realise what he’s missing out on (i.e a $10m+ payment for fighting at UFC 200).
Conor though, has not only stood his ground based on ego – he’s also made a compelling economic argument.
There had been 10 million dollars allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me.
So as a gesture of good will, I went and not only saved that 10 million dollars in promotion money, I then went and tripled it for them.
And all with one tweet.
Keep that 10 mill to promote the other bums that need it. My shows are good.
I feel the $400million I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside 8 months, is enough to get me this slight leeway.
Certainly, the Irishman managed to promote the event in an unprecedented manner, in less than 140 characters. While indeed a valuable asset to them, the UFC can ill-afford to be seen to cede to one man, no matter how influential.
If both sides continue to play hardball, it appears that McGregor will fight under the UFC banner once again – but fighting in July is now a distinct improbability.
White is unlikely to accept the offer of a New York appearance. Yesterday, he frequently cited the only precedent – the case of Nick Diaz and UFC 137. On that occasion, the UFC boss permanently pulled Diaz from the show, and Nick’s chance to face Georges St-Pierre didn’t come until much later.
McGregor’s value to the company is perhaps the only reason that the promotion haven’t thrown the book at the Dubliner.
“I’m not mad at Conor. I respect him and like him as a person.”
Not only did he not give out about McGregor over jeopardising the company’s biggest event, he went as far to say that he wasn’t mad. Talk about trying to keep one onside.
The risk on the UFC’s side in placating McGregor is perfectly summed up by lightweight contender Eddie Alvarez.
If UFC folds then it's sets a precedent for future stars to do the same , short term gain $$$ Long term disaster .. Let's see what happens
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) April 21, 2016
The likely outcome from a frayed but admittedly beneficial partnership between fighter and promoter is a no-show from Conor McGregor at UFC 200, with a view to a biblically big fight at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden.
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