So, you're saying there's a chance?
"I'm 51 percent optimistic and 49 percent pessimistic, if you want to know my feelings on it," John Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
The latest in the McGregor-UFC saga is messy. On Sunday night, McGregor tweeted that he was back on the card at UFC 200 and thanked UFC president Dana White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta for doing what was right for the fans. But Monday morning, White told the Los Angeles Times and TMZ that the fight was still off and McGregor's tweet was "not true."
Kavanagh said he and McGregor separated early Monday morning as the two left Iceland to head home to Ireland. So, he isn't sure what has transpired -- if anything -- between the two sides over the last few hours. Kavanagh, though, doesn't understand why the UFC doesn't just let McGregor fight. The coach said the UFC just seems to be "standing for a point."
"At some stage you've gotta see that maybe it's pointless to upset so many fans that want to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that are gonna be brought in," Kavanagh said.
The premise of this standoff is this: The UFC wanted McGregor to fly to Las Vegas last week to promote the fight with Diaz. There were also stops in Stockton, Calif., and New York on the media tour. McGregor said no, that he was in the middle of training to get revenge on Diaz, who beat him at UFC 196 in March. McGregor said he was willing to go to New York and do some promotion in May.
Kavanagh feels like there could have been some compromises made, like maybe having McGregor do a press conference over Skype.
"The way the world is now, you don't have to be physically at places to be involved in things," he said. ... "I don't know what this obsession is with Vegas. UFC is a global sport, not a Vegas sport. I don't see why everything has to be done there."
A few of the things the UFC had planned for last week were commercial shoots and photo shoots. Kavanagh doesn't seem to think any of that stuff was necessary for McGregor, who is already the biggest draw in the UFC with gate records in his pocket and two straight pay-per-views with more than 1 million buys. Plus, he said, the Diaz-McGregor rematch sells itself with McGregor coming off a loss.
"Is there anyone in the MMA world that didn't want to see that fight?" Kavanagh said. "Was there the need to spend $10 million on that ad?"
Because of that loss, Kavanagh said he changed everything up for McGregor. They went to Portugal to train for seven days and then another seven days in Iceland. Everything was structured to a tee and McGregor leaving for Vegas and wherever else was going to completely interrupt the first cycle of a 12-week training camp.
"This was Conor getting up at 7:45 a.m. -- and I can't tell you how unusual that is unless you know him the way I do," Kavanagh said. ... "He'd become this soldier. I basically said if it comes down to the press conference or the fight, we've gotta let that one go."
Kavanagh said that the entire team would be coming into Los Angeles five weeks out of the fight and McGregor would have been more than willing to do media then. UFC 200 is not until July 9.
"Why not doing it during that five-week period rather than adding in that long, long back-and-forth journey?" the coach said.
The UFC, though, said no to everything McGregor offered for a compromise and now McGregor is off the UFC 200 card. Kavanagh said they are still training as if he'll be at that event, however. He doesn't think it's yet a lost cause.
"It seems to be swinging the right way and we're aiming and we're training for 200," Kavanagh said. "We're hoping for good news."
Kavanagh also said he doesn't believe that the relationship between the UFC and McGregor is completely blown up.
"I don't think we've gone past any point of no return," Kavanagh said. "There's mutual respect from both parties. Dana and Lorenzo and those guys are sensible businessmen. This is just one of those things. I have no doubt that we'll continue with the tradition for his next fight. Lorenzo will bring in his bottle of Midleton [whiskey] and we'll do our usual toast and we'll carry on."