Conor McGregor has always seemingly maintained a strong relationship with UFC president Dana White, but it wasn’t long ago when the fighter and promoter had a personal falling out after several private messages between them were made public.
Prior to booking his fight against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23, the Irish superstar retired from competition while expressing frustration that he hadn’t been booked against another opponent after demolishing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in less than a minute in his lone appearance in 2020.
McGregor ended up releasing several exchanges with White over direct message on Twitter where he revealed conversations with the UFC president about his desire to compete again. White eventually fired back while calling McGregor’s maneuver “one of the dirtiest things you can do,” especially when it came to outing conversations about another fighter.
According to White, he was eventually able to mend fences with McGregor in private but the volatile war of words publicly at the time was all too real.
“We were in a really bad place then,” White said about his relationship with McGregor when speaking to ESPN. “I was really upset. It wasn’t because he put out private messages. But we were talking about another fighter and I like Diego Sanchez a lot and I have a lot of respect for Diego Sanchez. I care about Diego Sanchez. So I was very upset about that.
“I talked to Diego face-to-face about it. Being the great human being that he is, [it’s] all good and then I was really, really upset with Conor. Conor, I fixed that, we talked and we got through it and we’re in a good place now.”
For all the ways White was dismayed with McGregor’s decision to air their private conversations publicly, that never stopped them from doing business together.
“Me and everybody are always in a good place as far as business goes,” White said. “Tito Ortiz fought here for years. We hated each other. He fought here for years. Business is always good but that doesn’t mean that we’re good.
“We’re in a good business place and personally, Conor and I are in a good place right now.”
When it comes to McGregor’s fight career, White couldn’t be more pleased by what he’s seen out of the former two-division champion as he prepares to fight Poirier at UFC 257.
Of course, McGregor appeared ready to embark on a very ambitious schedule this past year but ultimately only ended up competing one time.
Still, White hopes to see the UFC’s biggest draw stay busy in 2021 and he’s more than happy to map out an ideal year for him starting with the showdown against Poirier.
“That division is stacked with studs,” White said about the lightweight division. “I’m meeting with Khabib [Nurmagomedov] in Abu Dhabi to see what’s next for him. Is he really retired or is he going to go for 30-0 and you have all these other guys lined up.
“In a perfect world for Conor to fight two or three times this year and one of them is a title fight, it would be awesome.”