Since the beginning of the circus that has been Conor McGregor in the UFC, Dana White knew that McGregor was special. He knew that McGregor would polarize audiences and create a buzz around any fight that he was involved in. However, Dana White did not know that down the line, this same special fighter would be challenging him and his organization. He did not know that Conor McGregor would be big enough to take over his sport.
Over the past couple weeks, Conor McGregor and Dana White have been involved in an ongoing argument that includes ideas that will certainly change the UFC and MMA. The dispute began when McGregor refused to show up for all the promotional obligations that UFC 200 would have. He asked Dana to give him leeway for this one promotional event, but Dana felt that he must treat all his fighters the same and give no one special treatment. Conor then went on to post on twitter his “retirement”:
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Since that time, Conor has said that he will not be retiring and wants to be on UFC 200. However, Dana has not budged and both sides have not come to an agreement.
What is clear is that McGregor is not like any other fighter. In his past two fights, he has absolutely shattered UFC records in gate and has earned more money for the UFC than any other fighter by a mile. He has also consistently shown up and fought every fight he has been scheduled for, and has been involved in the most promotional events of any other fighter.
To give an example of this situation in another sport, I’ll look to the NBA. In the NBA, there are many situations in which players are rested to better prepare for the playoffs or more important upcoming games. These players are usually the team’s best players and are deemed more important, simply because they are. They are who the fans come out to see and are who win the games for the team. The UFC needs to start looking at stars like McGregor the same way. Ronda Rousey, another superstar, also complained of media fatigue, so it is not just McGregor who is saying this.
As of right now, McGregor is no longer expected to fight on the UFC 200 card. Instead, Dana has added the Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fight to headline the card. The problem with this is, that fight isn’t expected to even approach what the Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor fight would have had in total pay-per-view buys. Dana also had hoped to find an opponent for Diaz, but Diaz has stated that he is not interested in fighting anyone besides McGregor.
Going forward, it will be very interesting to see what happens to UFC 200. All signs lead to McGregor not being on the card, but Dana White has always been known for putting on the fights that the fans want to see. I’m hoping that the two sides can come to an agreement that will get McGregor back on the UFC 200 mega card. But one things for sure, if McGregor is added to UFC 200, it will shatter all previous UFC records and will be the most anticipated event the UFC has ever had. If he is not on the card, it will be a huge waste of an opportunity to globalize the UFC and put it in a position to be on par with the other huge organizations like the NFL, NBA, UEFA, and MLB.