Leading up to Christmas, UFC superstar Conor McGregor won the Sportsperson of the Year award from Irish sports broadcaster RTE. During his victory interview, he seemed to back away from plans to take much of 2017 off while his girlfriend Dee Devlin was pregnant with their first child.
You’d think the UFC would be excited to hear this news, considering how successful their 2015 and 2016 years were thanks to the popular and extremely active Irishman. But at a media scrum yesterday in Las Vegas leading up to Friday’s UFC 207 event with Ronda Rousey, promotion president Dana White didn’t seem all that eager to get McGregor back into the mix.
“Conor, the last conversation Conor and I had, he was taking ten months off. So I’m not even thinking about that,” White said. “Conor is not in my plans for the next ten months. Listen, we run a business where we make fights. I know who’s available, I know who’s not available, right? Conor told me he’s not available for ten months. ‘We’re having a baby, my girl stresses out when I fight and I don’t want to put that on her while she’s pregnant.’ So I respect that and I get it. Do your thing, buddy. And that’s it. He’s not in any of our plans for the next ten months.”
That’s an interesting position to take towards a fighter who broke the record for biggest UFC pay-per-view of all time in March, and then did it again in August. While White insists the UFC’s relationship with Conor McGregor is great, it’s hard to overlook what seems like regular head butting going on behind and in front of the scenes.
The biggest example has to be McGregor’s removal from UFC 200 for refusing to go on a press conference tour across North America. But following his historic win in November that made him the first fighter in company history to hold two championship belts simultaneously, he demanded the UFC ownership visit him in Ireland to discuss a new deal that would include an ownership stake in the company. That visit never happened, but in the meantime the company did unceremoniously strip McGregor of his featherweight belt in order to set up an interim featherweight title fight on a failing card in Toronto.
And now it sounds like that visit isn’t going to happen at all.
“When Conor’s ready to talk, he knows where I am,” White said simply when asked about McGregor’s demands.
For Conor, we imagine an attempt to break free from the UFC and get that money fight with Floyd Mayweather never looked better.