UFC President Dana White has been making the media rounds at radio row in San Francisco ahead of Super Bowl 50 and stopped by on Thursday, the Grant and Danny Show from Washington, D.C.'s 106.7 The Fan. White addressed a number of topics, not least of which is the noticeable change in fight posters and marketing angle for UFC 196: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor.
McGregor, the reigning featherweight champion, is set to face dos Anjos, the reigning lightweight champion, in the main event of UFC 196, but the original poster only showed dos Anjos with his belt. In a pre-fight press conference, only dos Anjos appeared with his belt. Technically speaking, both competitors are champions, but only the Brazilian's title is up for grabs as the UFC 196 main event is a lightweight bout.
Still, McGregor expressed discontent over having his belt and status as champion omitted. "That's what I just noticed. Where is my damn belt?", McGregor asked at the time. "This is a superfight. I look up at that poster, I see myself tucked in the back there. I see a guy whose last gate was 1.7 million. He (Rafael dos Anjos) fought on free TV. He's never brought a dime to the company. He's never made a dime yet he is sitting there on the front of my poster."
When the organization was forced to make a new poster after the event was renumbered, White said McGregor's argument resonated with him.
"Conor made his argument, 'This is a superfight. I'm a -pound champion. He's the -pound champion. My belt should be represented even though I'm not defending my belt.'
"And I said, 'You know what? You're right, Conor. All right, we'll do it," White recalls.
Not only is McGregor's belt now present, but the fight is being explicitly marketed as a champion vs. champion bout, an angle originally missing McGregor insisted underrepresented what was happening.
"We actually switched the poster and they've both got their belts and it's champion vs. champion," said White. "It's a superfight: 45 vs. 55 for the 55-pound title."