White confirms that McGregor will fight again, despite his retirement announcement last month.
Conor McGregor will fight again…Me and Conor communicate every day. We’ve been talking all this week. Things are good with Conor and I and we’ll get something figured out soon…Conor likes to be in a position where he holds the cards and he does what he wants to do.
White remains optimistic on the prospect of a rematch with either Mayweather or Nurmagomedov.
Yeah, if Floyd wants to fight in the octagon, we’ll do it one hundred per cent. I think that that fight is a possibility some day in the octagon…And, obviously I think everybody would like to see the fight with him (McGregor) and Khabib again.
UFC president White expects Nurmagomedov to face Ferguson when he returns, and not a rematch with McGregor. Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor will come before the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 10 to discover whether they will be fined and banned for their post-fight brawls.
They’ve got to go before the NSAC which is scheduled for December and we’ll see what happens. Tony Ferguson is the right fight [for Nurmagomedov], he didn’t lose the belt in a fight so it’s the right fight. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out, it all depends on the suspensions.
Following the events that closed out UFC 229, White gives a brief statement talking about how McGregor was upset at the defeat, and didn’t care about the brawl:
He didn’t care about the fight after. He was more concerned with the fight. He said ‘listen man, I’m upset. I don’t give a shit about any of that, we don’t like each other.’…You know he doesn’t like Khabib and the whole deal, but he didn’t press charges against him and the whole team. He doesn’t care about that. He cares that he lost the fight.
After defeating McGregor, then brawling in the crowd, and as Las Vegas metro police attempt to restore order, Nurmagomedov climbs back into the octagon and pleads with White to give him his belt: “Put my belt on me.” White refuses, fearing an even greater safety issue. He explained that angry fans would pelt him with anything they could get their hands on. Khabib continues to protest:
“I don’t care. I’m ready for this. If I have to be arrested, then I have to be arrested. But I want my belt put on me.
The UFC 229 press conference for McGregor vs Nurmagomedov was McGregor’s first appearance in front of the press for some time. White says he is very impressed by McGregor’s verbal sparring skills:
Conor McGregor is the master of mental warfare. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think he’s better than anybody, even Muhammad Ali. You don’t ever want to say anybody’s better than Ali, but I think when it comes to mental war game in this sport, or any other sport, Conor McGregor is the best ever.
White announces that McGregor has signed a new six-fight deal with the UFC. The deal will also position McGregor’s new liquor brand, Proper Whiskey, as a sponsor in every UFC event in which the latter competes. Terms were not disclosed, but White says the deal could make McGregor the most money in the sport, especially given his pay-per-view appeal. The six fights include the matchup with Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Oct. 6. When asked if the logo of his product will have a presence in the Octagon, McGregor responded:
You bet your bollocks it is. On the canvas. On the canvas. Like [Nurmagomedov’s] blood will be on the canvas.
White believes the upcoming McGregor vs Nurmagomedov fight could break the two million pay-per-view barrier. The UFC do not release pay-per-view figures, but the record is believed to be 1.6million for McGregor’s rematch with Nate Diaz in 2016.
I am confident it will do two million on pay-per-view. Believe me when I tell you, this will be massive.
White announces McGregor and Nurmagomedov will fight in UFC 229, in Las Vegas on October 6.
I wouldn’t say this is a crossroads fight. This is a very important fight for both fighters. For Khabib, who is undefeated and who is looked at as one of the best fighters in the world, beating Conor is massive for him. And obviously for Conor, coming back from a two-year layoff, in my opinion — and it’s crazy to say this because of how popular he is around the world — but he’s one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC. Everybody thinks because he speaks so well and gets so crazy and everything, it makes him sort of less of a fighter. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen…When you talk about pound-for-pound, best in the world? This is a guy who is actually living proof for pound-for-pound. He [McGregor] jumps from weight class to weight class and fights people in different weight classes.
At a post-UFC 226 press conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, White says any talk of McGregor’s return to The Octagon must wait until the fighter clears his legal issues.
I’m not even thinking about Conor until – I’m serious. I know they’re saying there are talks, but we’re not talking about a fight right now. Conor has to get through July. Whatever’s going to happen to him in July, we’ll figure that out. I don’t know what’s going to happen…Is he going to get fined? Is he going to be on probation? Is he going to get this, that? When that’s over with, then we’ll start talking about him fighting.
After he was not able to meet with McGregor in Liverpool, White says the meeting has been rescheduled to Las Vegas, and that he is planning for the Irishman to fight Nurmagomedov. He also says he has not seen McGregor since the incident in Brooklyn and that he is not involved in his legal defence in any way.
Conor and I are going to meet in Las Vegas,. I’m pretty confident [a lightweight title fight] is a fight that Conor wants, and I’m pretty confident that is a fight Khabib wants. So yeah, I could see that happening.
White says he and McGregor will meet in Liverpool in the coming weekend to discuss the fighter’s future.
We’re going to sit down and talk about his future and what’s next…Obviously, he has to deal with [his legal situation] in June. I’m flying to Liverpool this weekend for a fight there, and he and I are going to meet in Liverpool.
Whits says there is an arrest warrant out for McGregor’s arrest:
There is a warrant out for Conor McGregor’s arrest. They’re looking for him right now. His plane cannot take off. He cannot leave the state of New York with this warrant. He’ll be grounded and I’m assuming eventually if they don’t catch him, he’ll turn himself in. You can imagine he’s gonna be sued beyond belief, and this was a real bad career move for him.
Listen, you don’t like Khabib and you don’t like what happened (with Lobov) or whatever? Then fight Khabib. You can come in here and you can do it legally. This fight’s happening Saturday. We could have talked and made the Khabib fight right after. You could do whatever you wanted to Khabib within the limits of the rules of fighting. But you want to grab 30 friends and come down here and do what you did today? It’s disgusting, and I don’t think anybody is going to be huge Conor McGregor fans after this.
UFC president White confirms that current lightweight champion Conor McGregor will lose his title to the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, New York.
That’s exactly right: As soon as one punch is thrown, it’s on for the full title and it’s only fair. They’ve both worked their way up to No. 1 and No. 2. They deserve a shot.
White says the lightweight division will move on in McGregor’s absence, in the same way McGregor’s featherweight title was stripped when he failed to defend it in nearly a year after knocking Jose Aldo out in 13 seconds.
This is good news for the fans. I always hear about, ‘What will you do if this guy leaves …’ This is a sport first. People leave, they’ve made money and moved on. It happens.
White says he is confident that a lot of his top box office stars, including McGregor, will gear up for long-awaited returns to the Octagon this coming year, as well as Jones, Lesnar, St-Pierre and the Diaz brothers.
I’m going to take the odds and say ‘yes’, that Conor will fight more than twice inside the Octagon, at odds of +175 that he will.
White warns McGregor he faces being stripped of his UFC lightweight title if he remains out of the octagon until September.
Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen, it’s not fair to everybody else…I love Conor, I respect Conor, I love everything he’s done for this company, but the belt would have to move on.
White says McGregor’s continued absence is unfair to his division rivals and added talks are under way for interim champion Tony Ferguson to take on undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bout for the lightweight title.
You do Khabib versus Tony. We’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he will get the first crack at the title.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
At the UFC’s Las Vegas headquarters, White says McGregor may not fight again:
Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working. Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.
As for a potential fight with Tony Ferguson:
Listen, we ain’t taking any direction from Ferguson. With [McGregor], it’s not about ‘defend or vacate’. We’re working on a new deal right now. We’ve got to work out this new deal.
McGregor says he is ‘absolutely devastated’ on hearing of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the city where he trained and fought Mayweather. Dana White says that the UFC organisation will donate $1 million to the families of the victims of the attack. McGregor posts on Instagram:
Absolutely devastated upon hearing the news in Las Vegas…a city so close to my heart.
Talk of a series decider between McGregor and Diaz that would headline UFC 219, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 30, is dismissed by White. White categorically denies the rumours of McGregor vs Diaz III being set by tweeting:
In a poignant scene from the final episode from All Access, McGregor is in the changing room post-fight, being consoled by his family and friends, when he apologises to White for his defeat. White refuses to accept:
Dana White says that last weekend’s super-fight has generated a record-breaking 6.5 million pay-per-view buys, a figure which would dwarf the previous record of 4.6 million, set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, by almost 2 million. This is despite the three million people who illegally streamed the fight. The final figure could be higher, as it doesn’t include sales outside the United States. It will also mean that McGregor holds the pay-per-view record for both boxing and mixed martial arts. The 6.5 million figure also beats the cumulative total for the top five UFC pay-per-views in the company’s history, and is five times larger than any WWE PPV event ever. The fight will go down in history as one of the single most profitable sports events ever.
He’s way down with that [Canelo vs. McGregor fight]. Don’t believe his bullsh*t. That guy is so full of sh*t that it’s not even funny. First of all, when this whole thing first went down [with McGregor looking to box] – Oscar De La Hoya was saying ‘oh I would love to have McGregor fight for me and do him and Canelo.’ And as soon as the deal gets made [for Mayweather-McGregor] it’s the worst fight ever made…Oscar De La Hoya is full of sh*t up to here. I still can’t believe he did that . Bob Arum is the biggest jerkoff in this sport by a hundred thousand miles. By far the biggest jerkoff in the sport. Now [De La Hoya] left Arum. Everyone will agree that Arum is just an *sshole. Now De La Hoya, who I’ve known for a long time and I like Oscar, as soon as this fight is made he turns into ‘Oscar De La Arum’ and goes crazy on the fight.
Showtime releases the fourth episode of All Access, its behind-the-scenes series about the build up to the McGregor-Mayweather fight. Dana White:
From the first day I met him I knew he’d be a big star. I call him ‘The Unicorn’. He’s very, very smart. His comedic timing is perfect. He’s a very likable guy. There’s no persona with Conor McGregor. He is who he is. I asked his girlfriend one time, ‘Is he like this 24/7?’ and she said, ‘Y’know Dana, sometimes I wake up and he’s shadow boxing in his underwear at three in the morning. That’s who he is.’…If Conor McGregor wins this fight, and he knocks out Floyd Mayweather, it will be the greatest upset in the history of sports. It is literally all anyone will talk about for a year…He has the ability to make you believe.
White says that boxing has snubbed MMA, and is now ready for a wake up call.
Here’s the reality: boxing has tried to snub this sport for a very long time. The people who think is going to be this one-sided whatever with Floyd Mayweather, don’t know Conor McGregor yet. The beautiful thing about this thing is that it’s the biggest combat sport [event] ever in the history of combat sports — now you’re going to meet Conor McGregor, motherf—s!…When he makes this upset — and it’ll be the biggest upset in the history of sports — he’s going to be the biggest athlete on the planet. It’s going to be awesome.
White talks about suggestions by Malignaggi that he had edited the McGregor sparring footage to make McGregor look better.
What am I Steven Spielberg! Come on! It’s footage of the actual sparring. I was there for all 12 rounds. Paulie has said some bad things about me. I felt sorry for the guy. It was a one-way beating. A lot of people were saying Conor couldn’t box. Paulie was obviously lying about everything about the sparring match, so I released it….I got no problem releasing the full tape, the problem is that Conor doesn’t want Mayweather to see everything he’s working on…It was very one-sided. it was an absolute beating. It was the right thing for Paulie Malignaggi to leave, for his health’s sake…Conor’s going to come at [Mayweather] different than anyone he’s every faced before. It’s not going to be a boxing match, it’s going to be a fight.
White says he believes in McGregor’s ability to beat Mayweather.
I stopped doubting Conor McGregor a long time ago. Everything he’s told me he’s going to do, he’s done, so if he says he’ll beat Floyd Mayweather inside four rounds, he will. I don’t think Conor underestimates him, he obviously respects him but you’ve got to remember – Floyd is 41 years old and Conor McGregor is 28 years old. He’s the bigger, stronger fighter. People aren’t giving him a chance and that’s just crazy. This is going to be a fight, and anything can happen in a fight…[8 ounce gloves] definitely benefits Conor. First of all, Floyd isn’t a big puncher, he’s not a knockout puncher. His whole game is defence, using the gloves to defend himself and smaller gloves means Conor will have more places to hit. We’ve always wanted to have smaller gloves, they didn’t want it and now all of a sudden Floyd has decided that he wants smaller gloves. So now we have a hearing with the state commission this week and hopefully that will happen. Conor isn’t concerned about Floyd’s punching power at all.
After Woodley’s UFC 214 win against Demian Maia, White says that Woodley should have put Maia away in the second round, criticises the lack of action in the fight, and then says he had taken away the Georges St-Pierre fight from Woodley and gave it to Michel Bisping.
Yup! There you go. Because I know Michael Bisping will fight. Michael Bisping will show up and actually fight.So yeah, we will give it to him. The ship turned around and fucking sailed back.
In response Woodley says he had problems with his shoulder:
My shoulder is f-cking torn. I’m upset, I didn’t say anything in the fight, because that’s not what a champion does…I don’t care so much about the fans, but when your job title is promoter, promote your fucking fighter. Promote your champion, don’t demote your champion. I threw my shoulder out in the first round and I wasn’t able to throw any damaging shots. I still stayed the course, stayed on task and stayed on point. I executed the gameplan after having to reduce my shots to straight punches. I didn’t even tell my coaches until I was getting my medicals after…So I am owed a public apology. You want to publicly scrutinize me Dana White, you need to publicly apologize to me. I’ve done nothing but good things for this sport, nothing but a good model for the organization…And if I don’t get that, I am going to start leaking some sh-t you don’t want to be out in the wind, and I am not even kidding about that. They know what I’m referring to. I am due a public apology. I better get it. I am tired of it.
Covington, who has gone 7-1 in the UFC welterweight division in which Woodley is the champion, tells White that he has “serious dirt” on Woodley which he will leak if Woodley makes good on his threat to leak damaging information.
White appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about the upcoming fight. Kimmel asks if he thinks Conor has a chance at all to beat Floyd Mayweather.
I do…Floyd Mayweather is going to be 41 years old this year. If there’s a kink in that armour, it has been with southpaws. Conor McGregor is a southpaw, and he hits like a truck. He’s got 12 rounds to land that punch…When he hits people they go, and if he hits Floyd, I think he will hurt him, and when he hurts people he puts them away.
Is this like a cricket team trying to win the World Series?
No, normally, when boxers fight boxers, there’s a system to it. McGregor will be completely unorthodox. It’s what makes this fight so intriguing.
White says that, after watching videos of McGregor boxing, that the Irishman will not beat Mayweather through standard boxing techniques.
All I’ve seen are stuff that he’s [McGregor] sent me, videos that he’s sent me. Listen he’s not a boxer, at the end of the day, Conor McGregor is not a boxer, he’s a fighter. Conor McGregor is the bigger, stronger guy and needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and needs to hurt him. I don’t see him out-pointing Floyd in a boxing match. I see him getting in, turning it into a fight and roughing Floyd up. I believe in this fight Floyd is going to fight traditionally the way that Floyd fights, the best defensive fighter ever.
White releases a video that shows what McGregor and Mayweather said to each other during their face-off in LA.
CMG: Look me in the eye. I’m gonna bounce your head off the canvas. One shot is all it takes me. Anywhere on the dome. Anywhere on the dome, son. You can keep your gloves up too. I break the guard. My shots break the guard.
FM: Easy work. Easy work.
CMG: Four rounds and your unconscious….
FM: You ain’t making it out of the first round. Keep talking.
CMG: You ain’t knocked nobody out in over 20 years, motherf-cker. Them hands sore already? Do your hands hurt in the cold. You should get them massaged out. I’m a f-ckin’ animal. If this was a real fight you’d be dead already. If this was a real fight you’d be dead already. 20 seconds and I’d smash you within an inch of your life.
FM: Just show up
CMG: I’m right here. You ain’t gonna do shit.
White: I just noticed his suit says ‘F-ck you’.
Post press conference, White says unlikely President Trump will attend the fight, but he will be watching:
They called me yesterday and I don’t think they’re gonna come, but they’ll be watching… [President Trump] feels he’ll ruin the event if he shows up. The Secret Service is going to have to have to go through the place. They have to shut down streets and create crazy traffic.
White talks about the upcoming McGregor-Mayweather fight.
Conor is a madman. He’s gonna let Floyd know what he’s gonna do and how he’s gonna do it. And everyone’s been saying to me this whole time, ‘Do you think that Conor can really beat Mayweather?’. Look Pacquiao was just beaten by a schoolteacher…I stopped doubting Conor McGregor a long time ago. I told my partner, Lorenzo Fertita a long time ago, ‘I don’t know if this kid can fight, but if he can even throw a punch, he’s gonna be a huge superstar’…Last night I landed at LAX and Conor landed at the same time from Ireland. He gets off, looks like he was just fitted at Armani and says, ‘I will knock this man out in four rounds’.
White confirms that 30,000 tickets have been sold for the the McGregor-Mayweather press events at the Los Angeles and Brooklyn stops alone.
Staples Center is sold out, and by sold out, I mean we did tickets and there’s no more seats left. Barclays [Center] sold out. We had to get a bigger venue in Toronto, and we’re doing Wembley in England. It’s going to be crazy.
White says that he will be accompanying McGregor on every stop on the press tour, and says he’s not entirely sure how the whole scene is going to play out, especially with so many unpredictable characters involved. He also says that
It’s going to be a f-cking shitshow. You know that. Absolute shitshow. So, I don’t know. It’s going to be crazy…It’s going to be a hybrid of the boxing press conferences and UFC press conferences…. I think it’s going to be more like a boxing press conference than it is our press conferences. You know how mine are. No bullshit. We walk in, and we sit down and, ‘What’s up? Who has the first question,’ and we get it rolling. I think there’s going to be a lot more bullshit in this one…I’m going to sit there with a mic, and when you ask me a question I will answer it. I’m not going to get up and give any speeches or do anything like that. I think Conor and I will come in, Conor and I will sit down, and we’ll answer questions when asked questions. I think that the rest of the people that are going to come in – I think there’s going to be a lot of people that come in and talk and have speeches.
White says the McGregor-Mayweather world media tour will only make one overseas stop, in London, and that a stop in Dublin will not be on the tour. According to reports, Mayweather wanted neutral locations for the world press tour and did not want to deal with the overwhelming crowd of supporters McGregor would get in his native Ireland.
During promotion for September’s middleweight fight between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, Hopkins proposes that fans get into the McGregor-Mayweather fight for free.
If you want to talk about a spectacle, a show, by all means spend $4,000-$5,000 on a ticket. Maybe they will give it to you for free and make a real statement of jealousy….Hold up, I’ve got a proposal. If this is so great and so good, and we know McGregor – I’m not his accountant but I’m pretty sure he don’t have to go out and put a sign in his hand and ask somebody to give him some money for food. And Mayweather, whose name is Money. How can your name be Money when you don’t have any? Give it to the fans free! You’re lights ain’t going to go off tomorrow. God knows they’re not going to take your car away – you’ve got 20 of them, right? So if you really want to box for the love of boxing, then I’ll tell you what to do. You want to make a big statement Dana White? Give it to them free.
However, when discussing Alvarez-Golovkin:
A fight and a boxing match of this magnitude in September, we know you have to pay for. You pay for what you get. Watch a real fight!
White issues a warning to fans who may be fooled into thinking tickets are already on sale.
A fan told me he bought tix already. I want ALL fans to know that we have not even come up with a price for tix yet and tix ARE NOT for sale yet. Don’t get f-cked by These DIRTBALLS trying to sell tix already. When we announce tix on sale that’s when it’s real.
White says McGregor will be contractually prohibited from “going rogue” and elbowing or kicking Mayweather in their Aug. 26 boxing match. White also says there will be no MMA component to the show.
There is no way that will happen. That is absolutely in the contract, No.1. No. 2 this is a boxing match under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. When you talk about a guy like Floyd Mayweather — the lawsuit if that ever happened…you all know how much Conor likes money. Conor would depart with a whole lot of money if that ever happened.
White and Mayweather’s management team talk to journalists on a conference call. White says that McGregor will face a legal penalty if he uses MMA techniques in the ring. He also says that the financial details are confidential. White:
McGregor told me today: The McGregor clan has been taking over villages for 300 years and the Mayweather village is next.
White appears live on Facebook to answer fan questions. He confirms the date, venue, weight and gloves choice. He says the undercard will be put together by Mayweather’s side.
I think that whenever two guys get in there and start throwing punches, anything is possible. If you talk to Conor McGregor he’ll make you belive he’ll win this fight…Conor will turn around and fight again this year after the Mayweather fight…there will be no MMA on this event this event, only boxing…the weight was not an issue at all with Floyd Mayweather, which I didn’t expect…the press conference will be ridiculous…Mayweather, seriously guys, has not complained about anything, he’s been actually really easy to deal with.