Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov has been touted by UFC president as the biggest fight in UFC history, one that will break the two million PPV by mark. But with just under six weeks to go, we haven’t heard much from Conor or Khabib as far as fight hyping hijinx go. McGregor has fired off a couple of salty social media attacks, but that’s small potatoes when you consider this fight was built off a bus attack incident that landed McGregor in legal trouble for months.
Now we’re learning the silence surrounding the fight isn’t planned. The UFC isn’t just waiting until a bit closer to the fight date to start churning out promotion. According to Dave Meltzer (subscribe to his newsletter here), Conor McGregor is refusing to commit to anything.
One of the reasons you haven’t seen much in the way of interviews and such is that McGregor has not agreed to do anything. There are no press conferences scheduled because McGregor at this point hasn’t agreed to them. There is a lot of frustration within the UFC about McGregor’s attitude, but in the end, he’s got the leverage and the ticket sales and secondary market results only give him more leverage.
The feeling is that this may be the biggest non-boxing PPV of all-time, and the only reason it wouldn’t be is that McGregor hasn’t been pushing it hard. McGregor was able to get a larger piece of the action for this fight than any of his UFC fights to date, so there is a direct correlation more than ever between his work in promoting the fight and his pocket book, but this may also show that he knows he’s in a real fight and doesn’t want to break training.
The UFC and McGregor have butted heads in the past regarding the amount of promotion they want out of him. His rematch with Nate Diaz was famously removed from UFC 200 after the Irish superstar refused to leave camp in Dublin to attend a press conference in Las Vegas, a 13 hour flight away. Once again it sounds like Conor is putting his training ahead of promotion, which you could argue is fair considering the stakes of this latest bout against the extremely tough and dangerous Nurmagomedov.
Hopefully a happy medium ground is found that includes a press conference sometime in the next couple of weeks. But even if there isn’t, there’s precedent for a UFC star refusing all media before a big fight: Ronda Rousey was given carte blanche to skip all the promotional lifting headliners have to do in the lead up to her disastrous UFC 207 fight with Amanda Nunes. At least McGregor is skipping things because he wants to get every minute of training in, and not because he feels slighted by the press.