When Conor McGregor initially tweeted his retirement announcement last week, UFC President Dana White seemed to be on board with the decision.
“He has the money to retire, and his whiskey is KILLIN’ it,” White said last week in a statement released to multiple outlets. “It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire too. He’s retiring from fighting, not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy, and I’m sure he has other things he’s working on. He has been so fun to watch. He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him, and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”
However, in a recent interview with news station Las Vegas Channel 8, White admitted that he believes McGregor’s announcement is more of a negotiating ploy than a sincere sentiment. The UFC boss added that he expects to meet with the Irish star in the coming weeks.
“No [I don’t believe he’s retired],” White said. “I think that there’s some things that Conor wants and I think that Conor wants to get together face to face, he and I, and we probably will in the next couple of weeks and we’ll get this thing figured out.”
McGregor has repeatedly mentioned that he would like to have an ownership stake in the company. White doesn’t believe that is a realistic aspiration and points out that the former champ has been well compensated for his work as the Las Vegas-based promotion’s biggest star.
“Listen, who gets respected more than Conor McGregor does? Come on,” White said. “The guy’s never been disrespected, definitely not by me. And he’s got a lot of money too.
“But he’s stuck on this thing where he wants a piece of the ownership and that’s just — if you look at basketball, Michael Jordan didn’t own a piece of the league, and the list goes on and on. Is Conor very valuable to the sport and to the brand, the UFC? Of course he is. That’s a tough one, but I think there’s other ways that we can make him happy.”
In the long run, White says, the UFC brand will outlast both McGregor and himself.
“The UFC is gonna be here long after Conor McGregor, long after Dana White, and anybody else,” White said.