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Dana White says he did not prevent Conor McGregor from fighting at UFC 200

The UFC 200 light heavyweight title rematch between champion Daniel Cormier and interim champ Jon Jones is undeniably a giant main event for the biggest UFC card so far this year.

But the aura of the fighter who is no longer on the card still hovers over the event.

At Wednesday's UFC 200 press conference at New York's Madison Square Garden, UFC president Dana White was asked several times about featherweight champion Conor McGregor, whose welterweight bout with Nate Diaz, the show's original main event, was scrapped after a dispute over promotional obligations.

For his part, White said it's not his fault McGregor won't be at the July 9 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"I didn't prevent Conor from fighting at UFC 200," White said. "I did not."

That's a bit of semantic gamesmanship, as it was the UFC which announced last week it was pulling McGregor off that card. White pointed out that, among other things, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk flew in from Poland for last week's press conference in Las Vegas and Jose Also and Claudia Gadelha came in from Brazil, so he expected McGregor to be able to fly in from Ireland.

"If you look at the press conference, Joanna Jedrzejczyk who flew in to the press conference from Poland, Claudia came in from Brazil, [Aldo] flew in from Brazil. People came in from all over the world, Frankie's just getting home and hasn't seen his family. This is what we do. This is how it works. I didn't prevent him from fighting in UFC 200. He knew what the deal was, I told him what the deal was, and he opted to do that."

The rift between the UFC and McGregor does not appear to be irreparable. But the big machine keeps moving, UFC 200 will be a major event with or without McGregor, and whichever event McGregor makes his return will be a big deal, as well.

"Conor's going to fight again. He's going to fight at UFC 201, 202, 203, whatever the deal might be, we'll so how this, you know, what's next, when that plays out. Listen, 200 is the fight everybody's been looking forward to for a long time. It is what it is. The show's going to roll on and Conor's going to fight again."

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