The Floyd Mayweather Junior vs. Conor McGregor talk first began back in May of 2016 – during a tumultuous period in the relationship between ‘The Notorious’ Irishman and the UFC, which at that time was still owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.
The UFC had just made the decision to pull McGregor from the landmark UFC 200 show and a rematch with Nate Diaz after the SBG fighter claimed that he had retired amid an argument over promotional obligations.
There had long been rumours of friction between McGregor and the Fertittas, as well as UFC president Dana White, so many assumed this was the culmination of something that had been building for months. Perhaps the promotion’s head-honchos were finally taking a stand against someone that they felt had become too big for his boots.
However, the parties eventually patched up their problems, McGregor went on to defeat Diaz at UFC 202 in August, and, man, have things been rosey ever since.
While the idea of Mayweather vs. McGregor initially sprang up amidst the tension between the Dubliner and White/the Fertittas, it became a reality in large part because of the efforts of Dana and Lorenzo.
After months of claiming that the fight could never happen, White suddenly performed a U-turn earlier this year, saying that he didn’t want to stand in the way of McGregor making an enormous payday. He subsequently became a major force in the drive toward the fight. McGregor and his manager Audie Attar have also acknowledged the immense role played by Lorenzo Fertitta, the now former UFC CEO, in this unlikely story.
“I think Lorenzo Fertitta has been instrumental in a lot of different ways in Conor’s career,” Attar said on a June edition of The MMA Hour. “And yes, he was very instrumental in putting us together to really get everybody to talk and get on the same page when everybody started to see this was a real viable business proposition.”
As a result of all of this, McGregor now finds himself in a position that no UFC fighter has ever inhabited. He is being allowed to compete outside of the UFC and his fight with Mayweather will be promoted in associated with the UFC lightweight champion’s own promotional company, ‘McGregor Sports and Entertainment’.
And McGregor isn’t about to forget those that helped him reach this lofty status.
On Wednesday taking a break from posting pictures of sparring sessions and cardio workouts, McGregor shared a snap of he, Dana and Lorenzo to Instagram, accompanied by a heartfelt tribute to two men he considers mentors.
“Talking business in the bathroom tonight. We are always at it,” wrote McGregor. “There is an official “Conor McGregor conference room” right around the corner at this [UFC Performance Institute] and everything. But somehow we still end up in the jax talking business instead haha.”
“I have so much love and respect for these two men. Two legends of the fight game that have helped mentor me in this crazy business. I was mentored to a point where I was then able to position myself to where I am now. Partners in association. It has been some journey!
“This is an iconic image for all the true fight fans around the world!”
Talking business in the bathroom tonight. We are always at it. There is an official “Conor McGregor conference room” right around the corner at this @ufcpi and everything. But somehow we still end up in the jax talking business instead haha. I have so much love and respect for these two men. Two legends of the fight game that have helped mentor me in this crazy business. I was mentored to a point where I was then able to position myself to where I am now. Partners in association. It has been some journey! This is an iconic image for all the true fight fans around the world!
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