UFC president Dana White will no longer be directly involved in negotiations for a proposed boxing match between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and boxing’s former pound for pound number one Floyd Mayweather Jr. according to a report from Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
Quoting an official “familiar with the situation”, Pugmire claimed that new UFC owners WME-IMG have taken over from White and will be handling talks with Mayweather’s longtime manager, the elusive Al Haymon.
White had initially dismissed the idea of the cross-codes super-fight but suddenly changed stance back in March, stating he would never deny McGregor the chance to make “that kind of money”. Saying that he believed the fight would happen, White later outlined his intentions to first come to an agreement with McGregor before moving on to talks with The Money Team.
“As soon as this [deal with McGregor] is done, we go to work. It will be me an (Al) Haymon, in Vegas or LA,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on May.
Shortly thereafter, McGregor confirmed that he had made “a record breaking deal” with the UFC and White began talking about moving onto the next phase of his plan.
However, WME-IMG have obviously intervened.
There does seem to be some animosity between Mayweather, his camp, and White. During the early days of his professional career, Mayweather used to wear equipment made by White’s fight apparel company Bullenbeiser Boxing. However, the relationship has seemingly soured over the last couple of decades, with the boxer and the UFC president routinely taking shots at each other in the press since the beginning of the Mayweather/McGregor saga.
Under the circumstances, perhaps WME-IMG felt that this deal would be easier to make if White was not directly involved.
According to Pugmire’s report, the fight is still being targeted for “early fall” despite the fact that this will put it in close proximity with the recently announced Gennady Golovkin vs Saul Alvarez fight, which is scheduled to take place at the T-Mobile Arena on September 16th.