Here’s an interesting twist in the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor saga – UFC president Dana White is not currently involved in the negotiations.
According to the LA Times, “The talks are between the UFC ownership group — Ari Emanuel’s Beverly Hills agency WME-IMG — and Mayweather’s powerful manager, Al Haymon, the head of Premier Boxing Champions.
“At this point, the official said, UFC President Dana White is not involved in the talks, as the parties are pushing to make a Mayweather-McGregor pay-per-view bout by ‘early fall.'”
White’s lack of involvement in helping broker the blockbuster boxing match is in contrast to what he’s professed for the past several months. Just as recently as three weeks ago, White claimed he finalized a deal with McGregor for the fight and was setting his sights on negotiating with Mayweather’s camp.
“The slate is clear on our side to do whatever,” White told reporters at the UFC headquarters. “I don’t know what obstacles or hurdles they have to jump over.”
At the time, White stated he had been in contact with Haymon for several months. However, the LA Times cited sources close to Mayweather that they have not had any discussions with White.
“There you go. That’s funny. There you go,” White chuckled in response.
The Times’ report today shows the joke’s on White if he thinks he’s been an integral part in these talks. Or, White is well aware that his new bosses don’t need his assistance and he’s simply presenting a public front to show he’s still calling all the shots when it comes to UFC fighters.
But White would never lie, though. Right???
White has been cut out of UFC negotiations in the past when he didn’t get his take-it-or-leave-it way. Frustrated fighters would look to then-UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to close the deal when White became unreasonable to work with.
It’s unknown if that’s the reason why White’s not currently involved with arranging Mayweather-McGregor. It’s likely the UFC’s new owners want to personally handle talks knowing how much money is at stake.
That’s understandable considering they dropped a whopping $4 billion just 11 months ago to purchase the UFC. McGregor is their biggest (perhaps only) cash cow, and leveraging his star power to receive a return on investment is a shrewd business move.
It’s possible WME-IMG could involve White in some capacity further down the line, but if the’s not at the bargaining table now, he would likely just serve as a promoter.
What will be interesting is how WME-IMG words the contact, if the fantasy fight comes to fruition. In addition to receiving a large lump sump payment from the UFC’s sale, White was rewarded with a five-year contract to retain his post as the UFC frontman. He reportedly walked away with nine percent of the UFC’s net profits over the life of his deal as compensation.
If WME-IMG co-promotes the fight with Mayweather promotions, instead of using the UFC brand, could White be cut out of the record-breaking payday that Mayweather-McGregor is expected to haul in?