Where UFC President Dana White was once extremely optimistic that Conor McGregor would step into the Octagon again before the conclusion of 2017, he now has a different perspective on the Irish star’s future.
“Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got a f—-ing $100 million…These guys make money and that’s it. Fighting’s the worst. Try to get up and get punched in the face when you’ve got $100 million in the bank,” White said during a media luncheon (video courtesy of MMAjunkie.com)
“Money changes everything with a lot of people. We’ll see.”
For a while, it was rumored that a lightweight championship unification bout between McGregor and interim titlist Tony Ferguson would be booked for UFC 219. Now it appears that event will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title tilt between Cristiane Justino and Holly Holm. White did confirm that the goal was to get McGregor in the cage before 2018.
“We were working on a fight for him at the end of the year, and he’s just not ready,” White said.
McGregor hasn’t fought in the Octagon since claiming the 155-pound belt with a second-round stoppage of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016. The SBG Ireland product recently mentioned a desire to unify the lightweight title, but he also hinted that he needed a promoter or partner title to be enticed to return. White doesn’t dispute McGregor’s value.
“Every time you talk to Conor, you don’t know. Who knows? He’s a very unique individual,” White said. “I love the kid. If you look at all the money Conor’s made…Conor can’t be paid enough money. Conor’s worth every penny and more.”
McGregor, of course, made life-changing money for his Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. In addition to a disclosed $30 million purse, the “Notorious” one likely received a lucrative payday from the event’s pay-per-view and gate sales. White doesn’t regret helping McGregor make that fight happen, even if he doesn’t come back to the UFC.
“The kid made a lot of money. That’s what we’re all here for. Cut through all the bulls—t, we’re here to make money,” White said. “We had an opportunity for him to make more money than he’s ever made in his life. I wouldn’t change a thing. I knew going into that fight because of that fight he might never fight again.”
For now, though, the hope is that negotiations will eventually be successful with the Las Vegas-based promotion’s biggest star.
“If Conor wants to come fight, then absolutely, we want him to come fight. If Conor walks away and doesn’t ever want to fight again, it’s part of the game,” White said.
“It’s not about defend or vacate. We’re working on a new deal with him.”