During an appearance on Conan, White tells O’Brien that he believes the fight between McGregor and Mayweather will go ahead.
I do think it’s gonna happen. I think it’s going to be a tough deal, because obviously [there are] a lot of egos involved in this deal and a lot of people, so that always makes it tougher. On the flip side, there’s so much money involved. I just don’t see how it doesn’t happen…It would be boxing. No kicking, no elbows, just straight-up boxing, in a boxing ring with gloves and the whole deal. A lot of things make this fight intriguing but the reality is this — anybody who has ever seen Floyd Mayweather, he’s this big (motioning at his small size). Conor McGregor is huge. He’s 27 years old, he’s in the prime of his career. Floyd is 40. Floyd always had problems with southpaws, Conor is a southpaw and Conor hits hard. When Conor hits people, they go. Floyd’s definitely not knocking him out, that’s for sure. I’m not saying that Conor would win this boxing match but it sure makes it interesting.
White says that the fight between McGregor and Mayweather has not been finalized.
[It’s] nowhere near being done. There is no target date whatsoever.
White says that despite Ferguson being paid his fight purse (“show” money) of $250,000 for UFC 209, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission records, he was emotionally crushed he couldn’t compete in what was the most significant and highest-profile fight of his career.
The thing is that he was devastated. He came over to our offices, and he was as bad as anybody I’ve ever seen when a fight pulls out.
White says he does not know what to do about Nurmagomedov next.
To be honest with you, Khabib fought [at UFC 205] in New York in November then here in this fight. Two back-to-back weight cuts like that. I don’t know if he can make the weight or if he needs to get a better plan or a dietician. Something. He got within six pounds and was in really rough shape. He’s going to have to take some time to recover from this weight cut, and then I don’t know what to do.
White calls out fighters who are asking him for ‘money fights’.
I’m getting tired of the term ‘money fights’. [Fighter’s say] ‘I want the money fights!’ What, are you all going to move down and fight Conor [McGregor]? Listen there’s no bones about it: Conor is the guy. Conor brings in big gates, big pay-per-view numbers and everything else. Shut up if you don’t. If you’re not him, shut up.
White says that, despite several offers, there will be no replacement fight after Nurmagomedov dropped out of his fight against Ferguson. White says he did talk with White says he did speak with Michael Johnson — the last fighter to beat Ferguson — but ultimately cancelled the fight altogether.
The latest is I’m on suicide watch right now…The problem is that we’re one day away from the fight. it’s very hard. I respect the fact that so many people want to take the fight, but we’ll see what happens.
White says a St-Pierre-McGregor fight was never realistically discussed.
We were) not even close [to making a fight between McGregor and St-Pierre]. Georges said he could make 155 pounds. But let’s be honest here – everyone wants to take a shot at Michael Bisping. They think he’s beatable, and obviously Georges St-Pierre is no different. So he’s going to step up and try to take his 185-pound title.
White announces St-Pierre will fight Bisping for the middleweight championship of the world later in 2017. Bisping and St-Pierre will have a press conference on this Friday 3rd March in Las Vegas. White:
He wanted to take some time off from the sport. He’s been talking about coming back for a couple of years now.I personally wasn’t a believer, but he and I got together in Las Vegas. We had dinner and got a deal done…He will fight Michael Bisping for the 185 pound title.
White says negotiations with Mayweather are not progressing, and that McGregor will fight in UFC next.
I don’t know where we are with it. We are nowhere. Conor wouldn’t train with [Roach]. Conor’s got his own team and his own crew. I expect Conor’s next fight to be in the UFC in mixed martial arts and to be with the winner of Khabib and Ferguson…[Conor wants the Mayweather fight because it’s] gonna be millions of dollars. The guy’s gonna make anywhere between $30 and $40. [Khabib vs McGregor] is gonna be good. Two nasty guys, number one and number two in the world.
White says St-Pierre may cut to 155-pounds on his comeback, which could potentially set up a weight match with Conor McGregor.
It could be the winner between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be Michael Bisping. Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds. He says he can make the weight.
White says that rather than racism,Woodley is his own enemy.
The thing is with Tyron, first of all; he’s a smart guy. He’s a good looking kid. He’s explosive. He’s got knockout power; but he’s a bit of a drama queen. … When a fight is made — and Conor McGregor is a perfect example — Conor McGregor has that fight anybody, anywhere attitude, but doesn’t just have the attitude, he lives it. I’ve stood in front of him [with] ten days notice and he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. If Tyron Woodley had that attitude, Tyron Woodley would be a massive star. Massive star. But he does these things where he literally [go] on Instagram when he knows who he’s fighting next and say ‘I’m not fighting him, I don’t wanna fight him, I think I wanna fight this guy or that guy’. And that’s not what people want to hear…“People don’t want to hear that, and then what he does then, is he’ll start fighting an arguing with people on social media. Then he wonders why when he shows up at a press conference the whole crowds booing him. They’re not booing him because he’s black, there’s tonnes of black guys fighting in the UFC.
White says a fight offer has been extended to Nate Diaz, but does not say who the opponent is. White also says he’s turned down multiple fight offers. He says the Diaz brothers currently are at the top of the list in terms of struggling to put fights together, so he can’t predict when either will next be seen inside the octagon.
We just offered Nate Diaz a fight, and we’re waiting to hear back from him, so we’ll see. These guys say they want a fight – I offered Nick Diaz two fights. He turned down two fights. I offered him Robbie Lawler. Robbie Lawler accepted the fight. Then I offered him Demian Maia. Nick Diaz turned down two fights. And then we just offered Nate a fight…The most difficult to get into the octagon? Right now, it’s the Diaz brothers – right here, right now. But throughout history? I don’t know.
White says he is not meeting with Mayweather, and that he thinks the odds of a fight with McGregor are low.
We’re definitely not meeting in Houston…I think the odds of [McGregor-Mayweather] happening are like the odds of me being the backup quarterback for Brady on Sunday.
White says Rousey will probably not fight again.
In the conversation I had with her, if I had to say right here right now – again I don’t like saying right here right now because it’s up to her – but I would’t say she fights again. I think she’s probably done. She’s going to ride off into the sunset and start living her life outside of fighting…And then once she lost, she started to say to herself, ‘What the f*ck am I doing? This is my whole life. This is it? I want to experience and start doing other things.’ And I think that’s what she started to do, and she’s got a lot of money. She’s never going to need money again….I’m happy for her. She came in and changed the world. She put female fighting on the map. She’s been part of the biggest fights in the history of women’s fighting, and I hope those records can be broken. I don’t know if they can, but I hope they do.
White reacts to MCGregor saying “F-ck the UFC’ and other comments about a potential Mayweather fight from his Manchester interview.
When your about go an a pay-per-view where you’re charging people five bucks to hear you talk, I’m sure you’ve gotta say some crazy shit . You know how how I feel about Conor. I’ve always shown Conor nothing but respect. If he wants to go down that road with us, let me tell you, it’ll be an epic fall…Here’s what I think the chances [of a McGregor-Mayweather fight] are: about the same as me being the backup quarterback for Brady on Sunday…I made an offer because [Mayweather] was full of shit. This was a treal offer.
White says he will not take calls from Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, about a McGregor fight.
Listen, I love Manny Pacquiao. But I don’t love Bob Arum. You can tell Arum to save his money and not make any calls over here because we aren’t doing business with him.
White says McGregor can pull more pay-per-views than Mayweather, and talks about Manny Pacquiao’s earnings.
Here’s the thing, Manny Pacquiao ended up doing that fight and you hear all these numbers thrown around, but it’s something like Floyd got $250 [million], Manny got $100 [million]. It’s still a lot of money for both guys, but it’s not a big fight without Manny. Manny was as important in that fight as Floyd was…I’m going to tell you why Conor McGregor is still doing over a million pay-per-view buys and Floyd isn’t. Because Conor McGregor will fight anybody, anywhere, anytime, including Floyd Mayweather. He absolutely is that guy. Whether Conor fights Floyd or he doesn’t, there’s a line of guys that are ready to fight Conor that Conor will fight that are going to do over a million pay-per-view buys. Conor McGregor loves to fight and he is one of those guys that will take on anyone, anywhere. Floyd keeps putting this thing on his social media of Conor getting choked by (Nate) Diaz, but Conor fights.
Sharpe says by telling McGregor what he’s worth in a fight against Mayweather, White has given the Irishman more negotiating power ahead of his next bout in the UFC.
If I’m Conor McGregor, I say I appreciate that Dana White because for the longest time you told me and you told everybody that would listen and every fight fan in the UFC, Ronda Rousey is the biggest draw. You just went on television or you went on radio and said ‘Conor McGregor is the ‘A’ side’. So whether I fight Floyd Mayweather or not, it’s going to cost you $25 million plus a back end part of the pay-per-view going forward. That’s all he’s done. Conor McGregor’s going to double down now. I want to talk to you about a piece, but going forward it’s $25 million for me to step into the ring and then we’ll negotiate the back end on pay-per-view buys. Because if I’m the ‘A’ guy, I don’t really need Floyd. Because I’m the ‘A’ guy. People are coming to see me.
Mayweather talks about White’s offer.
The last time I made $25 million was ten years ago. I’m not bragging or boasting, I’m just telling the truth. I’m appreciative and thankful. $25 million is still great money. For the last however many years, my guaranteed lowest is $32m. But in the Canelo fight I made over $100 million. And Canelo and Pacquiao made over $400 million. Just me, sponsorship money leading up to the Pacquiao fight, that week I made something like $25-30 million. If I was so desperate and hurting for money I’d be back…I don’t want to talk to Dana White. Dana White was a player, he was a boss, but he was a small boss…so Dana is just an employee. I like Dana White, I don’t have anything against him. I remember when he used to carry my bags. Now he’s such a tough guy. All I got to say is this, ‘Why everytime Conor McGregor go out there and fight, Dana White makes more money than Conor McGregor when Conor McGregor go out there and fight.’
White says Mayweather is wrong to turn down his $25 million offer.
First of all Floyd thinks he’s so much bigger than Conor — he’s wrong. Listen, Floyd’s gone undefeated for 20 years. I give him all the credit in the world for doing that. Conor’s been around for three or four years, and for him to think he’s a much bigger star than Conor isn’t true, and I’m not going to pay him way more money than I’m gonna pay my guy. We all know that $25 million is not peanuts, and so does he. He’s hanging his watch out the window. His watch is the problem, ok? If you’re wearing a watch that’s $250,000 you’re gonna $25 million real quick pal. And hey Floyd! Taxes are coming up too, buddy. They’re gonna be all over you, pal.. Floyd said that he made an offer. He never made an offer. It’s not true. I made an offer. OK. So if you’re serious there’s a real offer. Where do we go from here Floyd?
Mayweather responds to White’s $25 million offer to fight McGregor:
You’re a f-cking comedian!
White offers both McGregor and Mayweather $25 million each as well as a portion of PPV for the fight to take place under the UFC banner.
White announces that Ferguson will fight Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209 on March 4. At one point Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson seemed as if it was off the table, with Nurmagomedov claiming he was moving on from Ferguson who — according to White — was asking for too much money. It’s understood that Ferguson and the promotion came to a middle ground.
Hunt files a civil suit naming the UFC, Lesnar and White as defendants with the Nevada District Court. The suit says:
[The parties] affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit…Without HUNT’s knowledge or consent, the UFC conspired and caused LESNAR, a doping fighter, to fight HUNT, a clean fighter, despite the fact that LESNAR used substances banned by the UFC, USADA and WADA.
I want the UFC to understand it’s not OK to keep doing what they’re doing. They’re allowing guys to do this. They had a chance to take all the money from this guy, because he’s a cheater, and they didn’t. What message is that sending to the boys and girls who want to be a fighter someday? The message is, ‘You just have to cheat like this and it’s OK.’ In society, if you commit a crime, you pay. Why is it different in MMA? It’s hurt the business, so it’s even worse. They need to be held accountable for this.
In response to Streep’s comments during her Golden Globes acceptance speech:
If all these outsiders and foreigners were kicked out of Hollywood, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
The last thing in the world I expect is an uppity, 80-year-old lady to be in our demographic and love mixed martial arts…I’m not a big fan of golf, doesn’t mean people should stop watching it. If you don’t like it change the channel…Of course it’s an art. These men and women are so talented. They train their whole lives to become the best in the world, and the people who get into the UFC are the elite of the elite. Saying something stupid like that is like saying she’s not a talented actress…We have champions from all over the world, men and women. It was a completely uneducated comment.
White talks about Rousey’s loss to Nunes.
I went backstage after and hung out with her for probably 45 minutes. I’ll tell you this: She’s in better spirits this time than after the Holly fight. She’s very competitive. She does not like to lose. She loves to win. She loves to do what she sets out to do. Tonight wasn’t her night. None of this would be here without Ronda Rousey. Ronda Rousey built this. She talked me into letting women come into the UFC, and it was the smartest thing that I’ve ever done. Regardless of whether she comes back, or she doesn’t come back, she’s a wnnier. She built this whole thing…[She] needs to take some time. Maybe she’ll [come back], we’ll see what happens.
During the UFC 207 Media Scrum, White says Nick Diaz has turned down every welterweight fight offered by UFC, including a fight against McGregor. Diaz reportedly turned down the McGregor fight to keep it for his brother, Nate.
Despite McGregor saying he could fight earlier than May 2017. White says he is not currently looking to book McGregor into any fights.
The last conversation that Conor and I had he was taking 10 months off. I’m not even thinking about Conor. Conor is not in my plans for the next 10 months. We run a business where we make fights. I know who’s available and I know who’s not available. Conor told me ‘I’m not available for 10 months, we’re having a baby, my girl stresses out when I fight and I don’t want to put that on her while she’s pregnant.’ I love it, I respect it, I get it. Do your thing, buddy…That’s it. He’s not in any of our plans for the next 10 months.
White says he is fine with giving Rousey a pass on promotion this time.
If you look at the amount of press that has been done by any fighter in the UFC history, Ronda smokes everybody by a long shot. This is the way she wanted it. The only thing she cares about right now is focusing on winning, She has done a lot of things for us. This is what she wanted and we gave it to her.
And that, to him, she is in excellent shape:
She is great. She is ready to roll, she is ready to fight, and it is all good. Everybody knows that Ronda is psychotically competitive. She is as good as I have ever seen her. She is in amazing shape, she is in great spirits. She is fired up. She is like the old Ronda again. She just had to deal with this thing the way she wanted to deal with it…all the greats throughout history, they’ve all lost. Muhammad Ali lost, Mike Tyson lost, you go through the list of all the greatest fighters who have ever lived, everybody has a loss. It is always interesting and exciting to see if they can overcome and come back from a devastating loss, like her’s was.
White says he doesn’t want McGregor to fight a “trilogy” fight with Diaz.
The problem with the rubber match is Diaz is a 170-pounder. He’s a massive guy. Conor is a very talented guy, he’s very, very good. Every time he goes out there he looks better… [But] we should have never done it in the first place. That’s what weight classes are for. They wanted to do it, we did it. They wanted to do it again, we did it again. They’re 1-1. There’s only so many of those wars you can be in in your career. It takes a lot out of you. Some guys go into wars like that and they’re never the same after it. Look at Meldrick Taylor when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez. He was never the same after that fight. We’ve had those type of fights too. I believe that Rory MacDonald was never the same after the Robbie Lawler fight. That fight ruined him. I don’t want to do that to someone special like Conor McGregor. It’s just not right.
White comments on Mayweather’s recent videos criticizing and calling out McGregor.
Floyd’s about this tall (points towards the ground), his hands are like peanut brittle, he has to wrap them a million times so he doesn’t break his hands. Floyd better hope he don’t run into Conor on the street. Let me tell you what, not only will Conor kick his ass, he’ll kick the (expletive) out of everyone of his security guards, too. I would love to be there when Floyd tries to slap Conor McGregor. I promise you, Floyd, you will never try to walk up and slap Conor McGregor and you know it, too…Let me tell you what, that fight will happen before Floyd walks up and tries to slap Conor, I promise you that, too. He’ll kick his head to another planet and then he’ll murder every one of his security guards…I don’t take away from what Floyd’s accomplished in boxing, but he’s stepping way over thinking he’s going to slap Conor. It’s hilarious.
White says McGregor and Nurmagomedov could be the next lightweight fight. Currently, Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are in discussions to fight for the interim lightweight title in McGregor’s absence, but nothing is official yet.
We’re focused very heavily on Russia right now. First of all, there’s tons of talent coming out of Russia, and a lot of fans. There’s a fighter named Khabib who’s from Russia, and he’s insanely popular. The next fight could be Conor vs. Khabib.
White says McGregor could receive equity from the UFC, but thinks the Irishman should simply buy his own.
I think anything is possible. A lot of people bought into equity. Conor’s got enough money to buy a piece. If Conor really wants to come in, come on in. A lot of people put their money up and bought in.
White says McGregor is underrated as a pound-for-pound fighter.
Conor is a very talented fighter, he’s very, very good. Every time he goes out there, he looks better. And when you talk about the pound-for-pound, they don’t have Conor McGregor as the pound-for-pound. The media does the ratings. When you talk about what the pound-for-pound really means, how is it not Conor McGregor? The guy was the ’45-pound champion, ’55-pound champion, and beat a guy at 170. That’s what pound-for-pound really means.
White says McGregor and Mayweather will not fight.
Well there’s a lot of talk going on about this now. But let’s look at it this way. If they really fought, it would be ugly. It would be ugly for Floyd. Conor has more weapons and tools than Floyd Mayweather does…If they were to box, look at Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather. It was a fight that everyone wanted to see for years. It took almost 10 years to make that fight and they are the same sport. There’s no way this fight would ever happen.
Rousey says that White originally wanted her to headline at UFC 205, but that McGregor headlining that fight allowed her to have a break and to focus on the upcoming fight with Amanda Nunes.
Conor gave me the chance to rest, he took the weight off my shoulders, and for that I’m grateful. I will never put my body at risk for money and views ever again. What makes me happy is winning and being the best in the world and that’s it. Fuck all the promotion and energy spent on anything that’s not me winning. And anyone who tries to tell me I owe them energy on frivolous shit during camp out of ‘loyalty’ or ‘friendship’ deserves no loyalty from me and is no friend of mine. This is not a time for f-cking favors. This is a time for redemption and revenge.
White confirms McGregor will appear on Game of Thrones (4:30 in video):
I knew that a few months ago that they were interested in putting him in the show. And I’m glad he did it. It’ll be great. I’m excited for him.
White recounts a meeting with 50 Cent in New York:
I was at dinner in New York for 205, and we bumped into each other…When we were leaving he said to me, ‘When’s your boy going to fight Floyd?” and I said “My boy? Who are you talking about, Conor? Floyd doesn’t want to fight Conor.’ And he said, ‘He does. He’s dead serious about it.’ And I said, ‘I don’t know man. Call Floyd and see what’s going on’. So that’s how the whole thing got started up again…Look how long it took [Mayweather-Pacquiao] to get that done and they’re both in the same sport. I highly doubt this fight will ever happen.
White says Rousey is in great condition:
Yeah. It is exciting. Obviously, the return of Ronda is a big deal. She is taken this thing so seriously. Guess what she is weighing right now? 135 lbs. She is doing everything she can to keep her weight on. She is in sick shape.
UFC President White says McGregor gave up his featherweight belt, and will not fight for ten months.
I didn’t strip him of anything. I said every day leading up to that fight that he had to give up one of those belts. He gave up the 145-pound title, but it doesn’t take away from — He says that he’s still a two-weight champion. Damn right he is. He is a two-weight champion. It doesn’t take away from what that guy accomplished and what he’s done. When you look at the 145-pound title, he didn’t lose it. He gave it up. He was never beaten, and the belt was never taken from him…That (featherweight) belt hadn’t been defended in almost a year, and Conor’s taking another ten months off for maternity. It’s not fair to the rest of the guys in that division. You can’t tie up the entire division, but I did let him fight for it. I let him do it.
White says that, despite no longer having the title and Jose Aldo currently holding the title, McGregor is still the man to beat at 145lb.
I didn’t strip him of anything you know what I mean? I said everyday leading up to that fight at UFC 205, that McGregor had to give up one of the belts if he won the lightweight title in New York but that doesn’t take away from anything. He says he is still a two-weight world champion and he’s damn right he is. He is a two-weight world champion. It doesn’t take away from anything that he achieved and when it comes to the featherweight title, he didn’t lose it, he is the man at 145-pounds.
White says that, despite getting a boxing license, McGregor is still under contract to UFC.
I have no idea what Conor is doing. Conor’s Conor. He does his thing. But he’s under contract to me. Who knows with this guy? Who knows what he is up to. I just let Conor be Conor. And the other thing is, it’s fun to talk about this fight and what might happen, but what commission would let that fight happen? Really, think about that.
White says McGregor decided to give up the featherweight title of his own volition before Aldo was named the division’s undisputed champion.
Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again. Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were [angry]…I wanted Aldo to fight Holloway for the belt, but he needed more time. So I looked at it and I said, Well, it makes sense to make Aldo the champion and then have Holloway and Pettis fight for the interim title, and when Jose’s ready, barring any crazy injuries, the winner can fight him.
White confirms McGregor will not fight again until after May 2017. The fighter is not only taking time off for himself, but also for his girlfriend Dee Devlin so she’s not burdened with the stress of another fight while she’s dealing with her first pregnancy.
He won’t fight before May. His girl gets super stressed out when he fights. He doesn’t want her having any of that stress while she’s pregnant…He’s good. He should take time off. He’s been fighting nonstop. Nothing wrong with him taking time off. It’s good for him and her and it’s good for the baby.
White says the UFC will survive without him:
We’ve done this for 16 years, with a lot of big stars who couldn’t fight or moved on – Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre. There’s not a day in this office I don’t get the question, ‘What are we going to do about this guy?’ Every day I turn around, I’ve got a reporter saying we’ve peaked. If I listened to any of that — we probably would be done.
In a trailer for The Thrill and the Agony, Nurmagomedov tells Johnson to give up while he is giving him a beating:
You have to give up. I need to fight for the title. You know this. I deserve it
Then he trash talks McGregor to White between rounds.
KH: Hey, be careful. I’m gonna smash your boy.
DW: Just get through this first
UFC 205 generated 14 Billion social media impressions, which consist of Facebook likes, Twitter interactions and Instagram shares. By comparison the most recent Superbowl achieved 4.3 billion impressions. While the Euro’s in France earlier this year earned 3 billion.
Nurmagomedov tells White he will leave the UFC is he does not get a title shot.
White says that McGregor deserves Mayweather’s respect.
Conor McGregor … if he touches you, you go to sleep. Floyd puts people to sleep too, with his fighting style, not with his hands. You know how Floyd knocks people out? When they’re not looking. Watch the Victor Ortiz fight. This kid’s just getting started. This kid’s 28 years old. Floyd can say what he wants about Conor, but even other fighters have to respect him. He’s special. Floyd’s never even come close to doing to other fighters what Conor does.
At the post-fight press conference White says that he can’t remember what he said to McGregor when he put on the belt. He reaffirms his support for McGregor.
Conor’s special…I’ve never dealt with anyone like this kid. On so many different levels. Nobody has ever walked out of the Octagon and told me they want to turn right around and fight again. He does.
He says that the fight has broken all MMA records, with $17.7 million taken at the gate, from 20,427 tickets sold. He also says the fight broke PPV records.
Jesus is gonna have to fight the devil to break that record.
McGregor and Alvarez will appear at a post-fight press conference live shortly.