Where there’s smoke, there’s possibly fire. In early January, freshly-minted UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor (pictured) essentially stated he would jump to the lightweight division and immediately challenge Rafael Dos Anjos for his title at UFC 197 (which has since been changed to UFC 196).
However, the UFC – who has never been shy about wanting to control every aspect of their business, especially fight announcements – didn’t officially report the bout for another week despite the fact tickets for the event were set to go on sale shortly. There were rumblings that the delay was caused by friction between McGregor and UFC president Dana White.
If you’ve been watching the UFC for longer than a month, you understand that whenever White has any issues with his fighters, it’s typically over money. And we all know how much McGregor loves the dough.
After reportedly generating over one million pay-per-view buys and setting a U.S. UFC live gate record of $10.1 million dollars when he put Jose Aldo to sleep in merely 13 seconds at UFC 194, it’s understandable why McGregor would want, or at least ask for, a bigger piece of the pie if he’s making the move to try and become the first two-way champion in UFC history.
White and McGregor denied any beef at the UFC 197 pre-fight press conference. Fast forward just 13 days and what White told “At The Buzzer” about McGregor’s move has to make you wonder…
“I don’t see how [McGregor] wins this fight,” White stated. “He’s the 145 pound champion, he can stay right in his own lane. This guy’s moving up to 155 [pounds] to take on an animal who destroyed ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, destroyed Anthony Pettis, and this isn’t like boxing where you move up two or three pounds. You move up 15 pounds.”
Well, that’s not something you’d expect a boss to say about his latest cash cow. Or anyone he’s on good terms with, for that matter.
White certainly wouldn’t say anything in that realm about Ronda Rousey when she rematches Holly Holm, despite the fact White’s BFF was utterly DESTROYED by Holm. In fact, White was more than willing to push Rousey into an immediate rematch just eight months after Holm thoroughly exposed her.
Sure, Rousey isn’t jumping divisions, but she has two movies to film and has to completely transform her standup game in just eight months. On top of that, Rousey didn’t do anything but mourn for a month after getting knocked out. Regardless, White was willing to let his golden girl do it.
Thankfully for Rousey, she opted to delay her return to the cage.
It will be interesting to see how White and McGregor’s relationship continues to transform as “Notorious” continues to his ascent towards superstardom.
McGregor will lose to Dos Anjos (according to White) on March 5 at UFC 196.
— AtTheBuzzer (@TheBuzzerOnFOX) February 4, 2016