Last night’s UFC press conference in Boston, which trumpeted the upcoming UFC 222 and UFC 223 events, was one of the more bizarre and confusing in the promotion’s history.
The media in attendance and fans around the world were expecting the presser to finally provide some clarity on the UFC lightweight title picture, but that’s not how things transpired. Instead, UFC president Dana White claimed that the UFC 223 main event, between interim lightweight titlist Tony Ferguson and top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, will be for the “undisputed” title but continually refused to add that Conor McGregor had been stripped of the said title.
Below is a compilation of the moments in which White was asked directly about McGregor’s status…
Thankfully, White did make things a little bit clearer during a post-presser interview with TSN reporter Aaron Bronsteter, who drew clarification from White with a cheekily worded and rather brave question.
“Usually after a fight, if somebody doesn’t speak English, there is a translator. I feel we need a translator for that UFC press conference,” began Bronsteter. “So, let me see if I’m interpreting this correctly with Conor McGregor; as of today, this moment, he has not been stripped of the title, but if he doesn’t commit to defending the title leading up to [Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov], that fight’s for the undisputed title and you’re just going to move on?”
“Correct,” responded White.
“So, as of right now, he is still technically the champion?” asked Bronsteter.
“Correct,” responded White once again.
“I’m glad we to the bottom of that,” added Bronsteter.
“It was pretty simple. You just laid it out because we made it very clear. No translator needed. You are not that much of genius that you figured out something that everybody else couldn’t figure out,” said a clearly slightly peeved White.
Conor McGregor, then, remains champion for now and will remain champion as long as he agrees to defend the belt against the winner of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov before they do battle in the main event of UFC 223.
White previously stated that McGregor, who hasn’t competed in MMA since he ripped the lightweight strap from Eddie Alvarez with a tremendous performance at UFC 205 in November of 2016, is looking at a possible fall return to the octagon.
UFC 223 takes place on April 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card is shaping up very nicely, as White announced at last night’s presser that the Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov fight will be joined by a rematch between UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.