Conor McGregor’s reign as a double UFC champion ended over the weekend without so much as a punch or kick thrown in the octagon.
Instead, according to the UFC itself, ‘The Notorious’ one relinquished the featherweight title in order to focus on the defence of his lightweight title. The decision sees Jose Aldo, whom McGregor destroyed in 13 seconds last December to take the title, reinstated as the 145lb champion.
Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will now face off at UFC 206 next month for the interim featherweight title as the division looks to rebuild following the decimation it suffered at the hands of the Irishman.
Since the announcement that McGregor had vacated the featherweight title, conflicting reports suggest that he was in fact stripped of the title. With an extended break from the promotion on the cards for the 28-year-old, it is thought the idea of holding up two divisions until is return some time after May 2017 might have been simply too much for UFC president Dana White to contemplate.
While it is very likely that McGregor was forced into making a decision, it has been astutely suggested by Mike Dyce of Sports Illustrated that perhaps there was a little more too it all than a simple strip or vacation.
Surely UFC asked Conor McGregor to do them a solid. And he probably put that favor in his back pocket don't ya think? He's getting something https://t.co/4g3UwPtUIs
— Mike Dyce (@mikedyce) November 27, 2016
McGregor has made it known that he now wants equity in the UFC. As the top draw in the promotion, he feels he has earned a share of the company.
According to Dyce, the stripping/vacating of the featherweight belt comes with some attachments. Perhaps now McGregor can claim that he, in the business interests of the promotion, gave up his coveted belt to ensure that interest in the division remains strong and future pay-per-view performances follows suit.
Does he now hold an ace in his pocket? Has the man from Crumlin made a shrewd business decision that shows to the UFC that he is willing to put the company before his own ego? Has he shown his bosses that once again, he is deserving of a slice of the pie?
Or, like is claimed in various sections of social media, has McGregor simply been stripped of the featherweight title in a case of ‘you are an employee, you do what you are told’?
What do you think?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena