The UFC’s long awaited debut inside the famed Madison Square Garden is less than two mouths away, yet the show still doesn’t have a headliner in sight. There’s actually one guy who fits the bill perfectly, but UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor (pictured) wants someone to “beg” for his services.
Late Tuesday night, UFC president Dana White responded to a fan on Twitter asking him to confirm or deny whether UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez would put his strap on the line against McGregor at UFC 205. White killed the chatter by stating Khabib Nurmagomedov would get first crack at Alvarez’s belt.
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 21, 2016
While Nurmagomedov posted on Twitter that he was happy to receive such a “generous birthday gift” from White, Alvarez was still campaigning for a more lucrative tango with the UFC’s cash cow.
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) September 21, 2016
If White truly intends on arranging Alvarez vs. Nurmagomedov, the bout isn’t nearly box office enough to warrant top billing for the UFC’s debut in NYC. However, if White merely threw the matchup out there as a negotiation tactic to let McGregor know he has other options if McGregor’s asking price is too high, “Notorious” ain’t taking the bait.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 21, 2016
It’s unclear if McGregor wants White, Alvarez or both to “beg” him to perform at UFC 205, but it’s crystal clear that McGregor believes has all the leverage in this negotiation. And it’s tough to argue, seeing as how McGregor reportedly owns three of the top four UFC pay-per-view records with UFC 194, UFC 196 and most recently UFC 202, which reportedly surpassed UFC 100 for the top spot.
The UFC invested far too much money and time over the past several years to get New York to legalize MMA again, so there’s no way their premiere on Braodway can be just another PPV event. It needs to be blockbuster, and McGregor knows it.
Former UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey has completely disappeared from the MMA landscape since getting demolished by Holly Holm last November, leaving many to wonder if the “Rowdy” one will ever return to the sport that made her a mainstream star, so it might be time for White to start begging.