UFC president Dana White sounds like he’s had enough of boxers trying to poach Conor McGregor from the UFC for another superfight. At a media scrum following a UFC Fight Night event in Fresno, White responded to rumors that Manny Pacquiao’s people had been in touch with McGregor’s people about a fight in April.
“That would be weird, because [McGregor’s] under contract with us,” White said (via MMA Junkie). “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever is representing him.”
We wouldn’t be surprised if White went ahead with his threat, either. Pacquiao’s promoter is Top Rank boxing’s Bob Arum, and the two hate each other’s guts. For over a decade now they’ve traded barbs in the press over the state of their respective sports, with Arum calling the UFC “a bunch of skinhead white guys” who “roll around like homosexuals on the ground” and White calling Arum a “bitter, fat, red, alcohol-abuse-faced dirtbag.”
So it’s not a stretch to imagine White would seize any half baked opportunity to sue Arum for millions of dollars. And this situation is more than half baked. If what Manny Pacquiao recently said was true and his camp did reach out to McGregor’s camp about a fight, the UFC’s lawyers could argue that constitutes Tortious interference with McGregor’s UFC contract. As it stands, the UFC has the exclusive right to promote McGregor fights. Tortious interference applies if a third party is aware of that but still tries to make a deal with McGregor anyways.
The courts may not agree that such minimal initial contact would qualify, but do Manny Pacquiao or Bob Arum want to spend several figures on legal fees to find out? We imagine White’s threat carries clearly to all the other would-be opponents of Conor McGregor currently not on the UFC roster: don’t even float the idea of a fight with McGregor or things will get litigious fast.