White says there is a deeper reason to giving McGregor the fight against Alvarez.
Listen, I battled this thing forever. Not only is it not fair to Jose Aldo, it’s not fair to Khabib and Max Holloway. So, believe me, I battled with this thing but there are… how can I say this? There are other circumstances involved in this that will be played out after the fight. It’s something completely out of left field but it’s Conor’s business, it’s not mine, and I’ll let Conor announce it when he’s ready to.
White says Rousey is the biggest draw in UFC. Part of White’s reasoning comes from her fight against Bethe Correia in 2015 when she received a raucous reception from the home crowd despite facing a native Brazilian.
[She’s the biggest] by far. Not even close, by far the biggest star ever. Ronda Rousey is such a big star that when you go down to Brazil, I don’t know if you guys have watched any of the fights we do from Brazil — they don’t care who you are. They want the Brazilian to whoop your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian. Never seen that before in my life and will probably never see it again. That’s how big Ronda Rousey is.
After White says that he never thought that there would be a McGregor-Mayweather fight:
They seem to want the money, probably! But I don’t know how bad they actually want to make that a reality…I never thought it was gonna happen. Two totally different sports… Conor’s under contract with me. We can start with kicks, punches and elbows…[Mayweather] doesn’t have to learn to do anything, but he’s going to get kicked and elbowed.
It’s easy for another guy to speak when he’s not in there, in a contact sport. It’s easy to get a tonne of money off these UFC guys while they’re not really getting paid and he’s living better than them. There’s a difference. They can say, ‘ah Floyd, he’s living better than all his fighters.’ Well, guess what, I was a fighter myself so I’ve put in the work on both sides.’
White announces that Rousey and Nunes will fight for the 135 pounds title in UFC 207 on December 30th.
White says McGregor never wants to fight in Las Vegas again.
Conor McGregor hit me and said, ‘I don’t ever want to fight in Nevada again. Ever.’ Now how does that make sense for the state of Nevada? That you’re gonna try fine this kid and Nate that much money. It just makes people not wanna come fight in our state. And that’s not a good thing. And, guess what? Conor McGregor doesn’t need Nevada. He can fight anywhere. He could fight in Iowa. We could put his fight on an island off the coast of anywhere. It just makes no sense for the state. It’s just terrible.
White says he supports McGregor after the Irishman was fined $150,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
If you threw a water bottle and got fined a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, would you fight there again? That guy could fight on an island off the coast of Peru and sell tickets. Las Vegas needs him, he doesn’t need Las Vegas…A hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a water bottle? That’s crazy.
White says McGregor will have to give up one of his belts if he beats Eddie Alvarez in UFC 205.
If he wins, he’ll hold two belts. Then he’ll decide which one he wants to give back to me. He can’t hold both. He’ll have accomplished this. Then he’ll have to figure out which one he wants to give up. He can’t hold up two divisions.
After the Nevada Commission instructs McGregor to attend a media training sessions for the water bottle incident, Jay & Dan on Fox Sports show a skit to White:
[Laughing] Anybody who thinks Conor McGregor needs media training is crazy.
White says UFC 205 has already broken the all-time gate record at Madison Square Garden. The gate record was set in 1999 with a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis which drew takings of $13.5 million at the door. The UFC’s own gate record of just over $12 million was set at UFC 129 when more than 55,000 people paid in to see Georges St-Pierre defeat Jake Shields in Canada.
We’ve been in all the biggest and best arenas all over the world – Madison Square Garden is a big deal. All the legendary fights that have been held there, all the legendary events and we actually broke the gate record for Madison Square Garden. So far, so good. I’m excited…Obviously it’s our first time getting into MSG and it’s been such a big deal getting there [that] I wanted to make sure when we went to New York.
White says that, despite McGregor being sometimes difficult to work with, he respects the fighter.
He’s a little tough to deal with, but he’s worth it. The thing is all the other antics and everything aside, Conor McGregor will step up and fight anybody, anywhere, any time. I’ve never been in a situation where somebody pulls out the week before a fight and he literally does not care who he fights. Never been in that situation.
White says Rousey has informed him of her retirement intentions as she plans to commit full time to acting.
I don’t wanna take the wind out of her sails. Let her say her own stuff but obviously I know what’s going on with her. But ya, it’s winding down for Ronda. Listen, Ronda Rousey’s made a lot of money. She accomplished what she set out to do… And she loves acting, she’s good at it and, if she dedicates herself she’ll be even better at it.
After Alvarez leaves McGregor comes to the stage in a white fur coat. He takes Alvarez’s belt. Alvarez emerges and takes it back and throws a chair at McGregor. McGregor tries to throw a chair at him, and gets restrained by White.
White says Trump told him he would attend UFC 205 if he won the election.
Donald originally told me he that would come to the fight, if he won. I don’t think Donald really realised what his duties were going to be had he won. I think he’s meeting with Obama today and then I don’t know. We’ll see, man. Listen, no pressure to come … but it wouldn’t suck if he came.
He also says the family contacted him after the win.
His family reached out to me that night. I was in my hotel room, you know, watching the results, and they had, they had me come down to the (victory) party. So i went to the party, that night and, they’ve been very good to me, so good luck to him.
UFC 205 sets a gate record of over $17million (£13.5m). The previous record was set by Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis in 1999. White:
I wanted to make sure when we went to New York, we delivered. It’s the biggest, baddest card we’ve ever done in the history of the company.
The Secret Service tells Trump they have security concerns with him attending UFC 205. His son, Donald Trump Jr. attends in his place. White:
Having met President Barack Obama on Thursday, and amidst protests at his election, Trump may swerve the engagement. He’s been a friend of mine for 15, 16 years. I’m happy for him.
McGregor and Alvarez will appear at a post-fight press conference live shortly.
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.
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.
Nurmagomedov tells White he will leave the UFC is he does not get a title shot.
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.
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
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mayweather responds to White’s $25 million offer to fight McGregor:
You’re a f-cking comedian!
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 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.’
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.
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.
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.