Conor McGregor’s latest proclamation that he is done with the fight game has some believing that he means it this time, and others viewing it as the latest in a long line of publicity stunts engineered by “The Notorious” and his team, perhaps even as a distraction from his recent legal troubles.
One name that’s viewing the retirement announcement purely as a negotiation tactic?
UFC president Dana White.
In an interview featured on UFC.com, Dana White sat down with Las Vegas’ Channel 8 station to discuss a number of topics, including what he thinks McGregor is up to. White suggested that McGregor’s statement was likely in regard to his recent demand for equity as opposed to other considerations.
“No,” White said, when asked if he believed that McGregor was truly retired. “I think that there’s some things that Conor wants and I think that Conor wants to get together face to face, he and I, and we probably will in the next couple of weeks and we’ll get this thing figured out.”
White went on to say that at this point McGregor’s focus is probably more on money as opposed to respect. And while he praised the former two-division UFC champion, he added that even some of the most revered athletes in history never received the kind of slice of the pie that McGregor is asking for.
“Listen, who gets respected more than Conor McGregor does? Come on,” White said. “The guy’s never been disrespected, definitely not by me. And he’s got a lot of money too.
“But he’s stuck on this thing where he wants a piece of the ownership and that’s just — if you look at basketball, Michael Jordan didn’t own a piece of the league, and the list goes on and on. Is Conor very valuable to the sport and to the brand, the UFC? Of course he is. That’s a tough one, but I think there’s other ways that we can make him happy.”
Lastly, White was asked if McGregor needs the UFC more than the UFC needs McGregor.
“The UFC is gonna be here long after Conor McGregor, long after Dana White, and anybody else,” White answered.
See the full interview below, where White also talks about who he believes could be the next big UFC stars and how online streaming is the future of the sport.