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Dana White expecting big PPV number for UFC 205, but not Mayweather vs. Pacquiao big

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

NEW YORK – As usual he showed up late, but when Conor McGregor made his appearance at the UFC 205 press conference on Thursday, it kicked things into another gear. McGregor, sporting a white Gucci mink coat and red plaid pants, came out to a thunderous roar from the assembled at Madison Square Garden.

By that time UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez had already left, offended by McGregor's tardiness. And McGregor, always the showman, snatched his belt as he walked on stage, which set up a chaotic sequence. When Alvarez returned, a scuffle ensued, in which McGregor had to be restrained by security. He even grabbed a chair and for a moment looked like he was going to throw in at Alvarez.

Once cooler heads prevailed, McGregor jokingly asked how much that chair would have cost him, in reference to the fine the Nevada Athletic Commission gave him for the UFC 202 water bottle incident.

If anybody was worried about the card selling a big pay-per-view number, Thursday's press conference might have pushed it over the edge. Asked if UFC 205 could even come remotely close to Pacquiao-Mayweather number of 4.4 million PPVs, White said that probably wasn't realistic.

"Well, the Mayweather-Pacquiao number is ridiculous," he said. "That number was massive. Never seen anything like it. Obviously, the first time in New York — and with such a sick card — I mean, the Countdown show we did the other night on FOX did 2.4 million viewers...for a Countdown show. Embedded, the first episode did 1.3 million.

"The numbers are huge, so looking good."

McGregor's last fight at UFC 202 in August is thought to have broke the UFC's PPV record, selling approximately 1.6 million. The previous best, at UFC 100 in 2009, did in the range of 1.5 million.

There has been a lot of speculation that UFC 205 — which features the historic element of McGregor trying to win a second title, as well as two other title bouts between Tyron Woodley-Stephen Thompson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk-Karolina Kowalkiewicz, in the first big shot at MSG — will beat the UFC 202 number.

When asked if he was ready coming off of a five-round back-and-forth battle with Diaz, McGregor said he was.

"I'm fresh, ready to go," he said. "I'm going to shut this man up, trust me on that."