We haven’t heard a whole lot about Conor McGregor’s removal from UFC 200, other than what UFC president Dana White is telling us, and what McGregor told us himself in a Facebook statement. Now, McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, has broken his silence on the MMA Hour and shared his thoughts on how a disagreement over promotion turned into a battle of wills between the UFC and its biggest star.
“It seems to be coming down to… maybe ego isn’t the right word, but I guess standing for a point,” he told Ariel Helwani over the phone from Ireland. “At some stage you’ve got to see that maybe it’s pointless to upset so many fans that want to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that are going to be brought in, over a press conference.”
As for why McGregor was so unwilling to attend Friday’s press conference in Las Vegas, Kavanagh highlighted his fighter’s need to train coming up on the most important fight of his career.
“I knew it would completely throw everything off because this was a very structured layout,” he said. “We’d never done something like this before, our structure was Conor would sleep all day and then sometime emerge in the evening and then we’d drift down to the gym and do a lot of training. This was Conor getting up at 7:45AM, and I can’t tell you how unusual that is unless you know him as well as I do and he’s become this soldier.
“For anyone interested in sports science and knowing how you break up a 12-week training camp, and knowing how important that first cycle is, to have that pretty much ruined? It was better to let the fight go, as painful as it was.”
Kavanagh stressed that McGregor was willing to attend the New York press conference because it was a much more reasonable flight from Iceland, and would have only taken a weekend away from training.