Early this week, Conor McGregor apparently retired from MMA. McGregor’s retirement was so sudden and unexpected, that many did not believe it to be genuine. After all, McGregor made a similar proclamation in 2016 while in the midst of a contract dispute with the UFC. But while history could be repeating itself, UFC President Dana White doesn’t believe that to be the case, mainly, because he says they haven’t been negotiating with McGregor recently.
“You know, I was surprised,” White told TMZ Sports recently. “It came out of nowhere last night. A lot of people were speculating that it was posturing because of negotiations but we really haven’t been negotiating that hard. He said that in Chicago, I saw that and he sent me a text, but we’ve really never had a bad conversation with Conor McGregor since he’s been in the UFC.
“He went back and he said I feel like I should own a piece of the company,” White said. “And I said, ‘Conor, you know that’s never gonna happen. But this was a couple weeks ago. And then last night when he did that - listen, I don’t know why everybody’s so shocked about it. When you think about it, ever since the Floyd Mayweather fight, you don’t know if this guy’s ever gonna fight again. He’s fought twice since he won in 2016.”
McGregor recently told fans in Chicago that he was seeking “his rightful shares” in the UFC, something he’s been after since becoming the organizations first “champ champ” after knocking out Eddie Alvarez. It’s something the UFC has been staunchly against. Though the organization did yield some for The Money Fight against Floyd Mayweather, co-promoting the venture with Showtime Boxing, Mayweather Promotions, and McGregor’s own McGregor Sports and Entertainment, they have drawn a hard line against giving up equity. That doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon, with White saying the only way he’d give up any is if McGregor paid for it.
“I’m sure that’s the case,” White said. “But Conor has never come out, sat down with me and said, ‘I want a piece of the company, here’s why.’ We’ve never had that conversation. We did it in text a couple weeks ago. Like I said, I’ve never had a bad conversation with Conor McGregor in the entire time he’s been in this company. You know I love the guy. He’s got plenty of money, if he wants to retire, that’s his decision. I always say, when you talk about retirement, it’s probably something you should do if that’s what you’re thinking.
“If you want to own a piece of the company, you’d have to put up the money to buy a piece of the company. That’s how it works. These are all parts of negotiation. If you wanted to buy into the UFC right now, the valuation is pretty huge.”
White also admitted that if McGregor wanted to do some horse trading and negotiate part of his pay as equity options, he would be willing to entertain the idea. But right now might not be the best time for that. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that McGregor is under investigation for a sexual assault allegation in Ireland. On top of that, the UFC just recently signed an exclusive PPV deal with ESPN, meaning that the UFC has never needed McGregor less. Besides, White says, the UFC is a brand unto itself and doesn’t need McGregor to keep moving forward.
“I’ve been hearing that for 20 years,” White concluded. “I’ve been hearing that when every star is coming to the end of their career. People have been saying that to me for 20 years. When we sold the company, ‘Ari paid too much and the UFC is dead now! They’re not gonna get a television deal!’ I hear this stuff everyday.
“First of all, nobody knows what we’re working on. Nobody knows anything about this sport. Nobody! Not even the so-called experts because all this stuff is new. The things that we’re doing - we’ve been the trailblazers in this business for the last 20 years and we’re gonna be for the next 20 years too. The stuff that we’re working on is so huge and so next level and it’s amazing when we have stars like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva and Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. But it’s part of sports. There will be others.”
Bad news. Report: Conor McGregor under investigation for sexual assault allegation in Ireland.
Reaction to Conor’s possible retirement.
Conor on Jimmy Fallon.
Cowboy on SportsCenter talking about Conor.
Fighter pick Barboza-Gaethje.
Fights Gone By. Jack Slack is not impressed by this week’s UFC offering.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I don’t know what this means.
Losers gotta fight the losers— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 26, 2019
You got me twisted
The number one troll in the game.
Confirmed 165 happening by the end of the quarter! pic.twitter.com/9o1WbEcKtt— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 27, 2019
Back and forth.
They must’ve told him i was next ✌ #theresurrection— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) March 26, 2019
They told you I was next and you went silent. https://t.co/aZPFpTkgSm— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 26, 2019
Desperately trying to stay in the conversation.
@GamebredFighter don't you dare take that Askren fight pussy. I told you now you're fucked. You got saved by security last time you will not be saved by the UFC this time— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) March 27, 2019
The legendary fights against Nate. His dominant win over Dennis Siver. That remarkable 7 fight undefeated streak to start his UFC career. I understand he was a polarizing figure in the sport, but Gray Maynard really doesn't get enough credit.— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) March 26, 2019
Ray Borg (11-3) vs. Casey Kenney (11-1-1); UFC on ESPN 2, Mar 30.
Alex Oliviera (20-6-1, 2 NC) vs. Mike Perry (12-4); UFC Fort Lauderdale, April 27.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2003: Frank Shamrock came out of retirement, winning the inaugural WEC light heavyweight title with an armbar of Bryan Pardoe at WEC 6. Also that night, Nick Diaz won the welterweight title with a kimura finish of Joe Hurley.
2010: Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight title against Dan Hardy with a dominant unanimous decision at UFC 111. Also that evening, Shane Carwin knocked out Frank Mir to win the interim heavyweight title.
This quote is from Conor’s spokesperson in response to the New York Times piece that came out yesterday.
“Should Conor fight in the future it must be in an environment where fighters are respected for their value, their skill, their hard work and their dedication to the sport.”
If you read this and don’t think Conor is posturing to get equity, more money, co-promotion rights, or all of that, you’re not paying attention.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Should the UFC give Conor equity?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.