UFC president Dana White has threatened to sue boxing great Manny Pacquiao if claims that he made overtures to UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor about the possibility of an April showdown turn out to be true.
In late November, Pacquiao stimulated a wave of speculation when he sent a Happy Thanksgiving message to McGregor via social media, telling the Irishman to “stay fit” before adding the suggestive hashtags #realboxingmatch and #2018 to the post.
Subsequently asked by the media if he or his team had actually approached McGregor with a view toward making the fight, Pacquiao answered in the affirmative.
“Initially,” Pacquiao said. “But we have not yet had any follow-up conversations(via Sky Sports).”
“If we can negotiate it, I have no problem,” he added. “It is OK with both of us.”
Speaking to the MMA media after Saturday night’s UFC card in Fresno, California, White said that he didn’t believe Pacquiao’s claims to be true, adding, “That would be weird because [McGregor] is under contract with us.”
“If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever is representing him(via MMAJunkie).”
White and the UFC allowed McGregor to make a foray into the world of boxing to take on former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an insanely lucrative fight for all parties back in August, but the pugnacious president of the world’s number one MMA promotion has since made it clear that he saw that bout as a one-off for ‘The Notorious’.
Making a fight between McGregor and Pacquiao even less likely is the fact that White has an infamously frosty relationship with the Filipino fighter’s longtime promoter Bob Arum. The pair have frequently traded barbs in the media and White once called Arum the “biggest dirtbag in all of sports.”
Speaking just last night after the long-awaited Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux clash, which he promoted, Arum called White a “piece of shit” and claimed that the UFC is “cratering.”
“We’ll see Bob,” said White in response. “We’ll see in the end. Bob’s the same guy that said the UFC would never work.”
“Look at what we’ve done and look at where we are,” added White, who plans to go into boxing promotion next year. “At the end of the day, we’ll see. We’ll see who stands where when the smoke clears and the dust settles.”
At present, McGregor’s future remains unclear. Earlier in the week, the SBG Ireland fighter told BetSafe that he does intend to fight in 2018, but suggested that it could be in the ring or the octagon.
“Me and my team are in continued negotiations with the UFC, and if the deal makes commercial sense, I look forward to fighting for my company in 2018,” added McGregor.