The intrigue, confusion and speculation surrounding the mooted Conor McGregor v Eddie Alvarez fight took another turn in the past 24 hours.
The lightweight champion has been talked about as the next potential opponent for McGregor, possibly at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in November, but developments over the past few days have suggested that things may not pan out that way.
Reports on Thursday, that made their way to BJPenn.com, had initially claimed that Alvarez had missed out on the bout because he had demanded too much money to make it happen.
However, Alvarez was quick to refute this allegation:
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) September 22, 2016
Ariel Helwani, of MMAFighting.com and host of the MMA Hour, expanded on this with a further twist in the tale that, depending on your interpretation, either makes the fight less likely to happen or gives it some hope:
Reports that Alvarez asked for more money to fight McGregor, thus ruining the deal, are not true, per sources. He has yet to be offered it.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 23, 2016
Alvarez hasn’t ruined any deal, because at this point in time there is no deal to ruin. The lightweight champ has apparently been offered a fight against number one contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at 206, but the fact that he has not signed that suggests he is still holding out. All signs point to him wanting Conor at 205.
With the full card being announced on Tuesday evening, that would suggest that it might be too late to thrash out something, but Helwani’s use of the word “yet” there is interesting.
Right now, the state of play is this:
- McGregor and Alvarez both want the fight to happen, that much is obvious. McGregor wants the lightweight belt he feels he missed out on when Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of 196 in March, while Alvarez has been calling McGregor out as recently as earlier this week.
- Alvarez has been offered a title defence against number one contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 206 in Toronto. Khabib is keen for that to happen, Alvarez apparently less so.
- McGregor, despite reports of a leg injury, is fit, willing and raring to go at 205 in November. That report, in which UFC Tonight cited Dana White, claimed McGregor was “unlikely” to fight, but…
- UFC 205 remains without a headline fight, with the final card set to be revealed at a press conference next Tuesday.
This one could have a few more days yet to run.