Conor McGregor and his team at SBG Ireland have made a habit out of pointing to Jose Aldo's last-second withdrawal from UFC 189 as proof that the UFC featherweight champion is afraid to fight his Irish rival. McGregor's father, Tony, won't go that far, but he also can't help but wonder about the strange circumstances that led to Aldo's removal from the July 11 mega-event.
"Personally, I don't think [Aldo] is afraid of him," Tony McGregor said Monday on The MMA Hour. "I just don't know why he won't face him."
Aldo pulled out of the McGregor match-up less than two weeks before fight night, citing a fractured rib as the reason for his decision. The announcement resolved a week of speculation regarding Aldo's status, but did little to curb the bizarre way the situation was handled.
UFC president Dana White has since stated that three separate doctors told the UFC that Aldo's ribs were bruised, not fractured, and that the x-rays Aldo's team released showcased an old injury. Aldo's team vehemently denied White's claims, but that's done little to slow the narrative pushed by McGregor about how Aldo ducked the fight.
"I'd hate to think a champion is afraid of any fighter, you know?" McGregor's father said. "I have to have respect for all fighters. Anyone who steps into the Octagon, I have respect for them. I don't know why he pulled out of this, but the fact of the matter is, he did. When it was confirmed that he wasn't fighting, it was a big disappointment for us Irish fans all over the world.
"But I knew actually, when Chad Mendes was put forward, I knew it was a win-win situation for the fans.
"We have the Aldo fight back on ... and it's even bigger now."
McGregor ultimately defeated Mendes in dramatic fashion at UFC 189, knocking out the American wrestler with a flurry of punches in the closing seconds of the second round to capture the interim UFC featherweight title.
McGregor's win preserved the ultra-lucrative payday of an Aldo fight, and actually pushed it even further towards fulfilling McGregor's prophecy of becoming the biggest fight in UFC history.
While nothing is on the books yet, promotion officials have indicated that the bout may even take place at the AT&T Stadium -- the lavish 100,000 seat home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, TX.
The UFC invested record millions into promoting UFC 189, including a sweeping 12-day, five-country world tour that culminated in a memorable encounter in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to McGregor's victory over Mendes, White promised that the UFC would spend "even more money" to promote McGregor-Aldo if it was granted a second chance.
Now that it's come to fruition though, Tony McGregor doubts Aldo will be very welcoming to the idea of another global excursion alongside his loquacious son.
"I can't see the world promo thing going ahead," Tony McGregor said. "I wouldn't speak for them, but I couldn't see Aldo going through another world promo tour. I think he's just had enough."