Referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy revealed UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta’s reaction at UFC 197 last weekend to the Conor McGregor debacle.
That debacle, of course, concerns Fertitta’s most prized star in ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor, who’s refusal to attend a press conference and shoot a commercial saw him pulled from the main event of UFC 200.
McGregor’s conduct during the public dispute wouldn’t have gone well with the UFC executives either, with the Dubliner publically tagging Fertitta in a rogue Tweet earlier this week.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 25, 2016
The UFC’s response? Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier were then pencilled in to headline the marquee July 9 event.
Conor’s express refusal to fulfil promotional duties, despite being handsomely rewarded financially for doing so, mystified Lorenzo Fertitta in particular, per John McCarthy.
McCarthy, who officiated the Irishman’s flash 13 second win over Jose Aldo at UFC 194, gave the behind the scenes insight on his ‘Let’s Get It On‘ podcast (h/t Reddit MMA).
“I talked to Lorenzo Fertitta at UFC 197, standing in the back, and we started talking. He said ‘I never thought that when I had a guy who was guaranteed $10 million, that I would have a problem with him.'”
With UFC president Dana White usually the prominent figurehead for the company, it’s intriguing to hear from the real power broker of the promotion.
Just last December, Fertitta stated that the featherweight champion would become the UFC’s first fighter to break the $100m mark, and is now likely left wondering where it all went wrong.
“In this situation, Conor played a hand of poker, but these people know how to play too”, ‘Big John continued.
“Although they would love to have Conor on that card, he put them in a situation where they said; ‘No problem, we’ve got other guys’. He was guaranteed to make $10m for that fight – meaning he was going to make more. That’s a life changing amount of money.”
As per Dana White, McGregor is due to return soon at any of UFC 201 to 203. McCarthy interestingly points out that although Conor’s next event could break records, the investment made in the blockbuster 200 event in comparison means that he won’t yield nearly as much of a payday.
“That $10 million might not be $10 million the next time he fights because it’s not UFC 200 and the amount of money that they’re looking to put in to promote that show and the amount of money they’re looking to make off of that show is going to be different from UFC 201 – it just is. You look and you go; ‘Well, was not coming from Iceland to do that mini-tour worth the amount of money that you’re actually going to lose?’
Because there’s no way he’s going to get paid that same amount.
He may make that $10 million in a fight, but it could have been that he made a lot more than the $10 million in that UFC 200 fight.”
The onus is now on McGregor to prove that his name will indeed reign.
My name will forever reign.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 28, 2016