Conor McGregor had the taste of the promoter life in his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, and now the UFC lightweight champion insists on carrying that over in his MMA return.
During a Q&A session prior to the debut of his biopic “Notorious,” McGregor said he will not enter the octagon again unless the UFC allows him to co-promote events he headlines.
“I was promoter on the Mayweather fight, and we’re in current negotiations,” McGregor said (courtesy of MMAJunkie.com). “I ain’t stepping in that octagon again unless I’m part owner of the whole setup – I’m a promoter.”
While McGregor Sports and Entertainment was prominently displayed in ads, banners and inside the ring in August’s blockbuster boxing match against Mayweather, McGregor’s freshly formed company was not listed a an official promoter for the historic event.
McGregor was dipping his toes in a new pond in his boxing debut, so perhaps that’s why he had less leverage on the promoter front. However, he’s by far and away the UFC’s biggest superstar and carries plenty of clout in the MMA pond.
Would the UFC’s new owners, who shelled out a whopping $4 billion to purchase the company in July, be willing to cut one of their independent contractors in on the promotional aspect of his fights? It would be an unprecedented move by the UFC. Then again, they’ve never had another athlete as box office as McGregor, who appears to be rewriting the rules as he goes.
One thing is clear, McGregor, who banked a guaranteed $30 million off Mayweather and claims he could clear $100 million if the pay-per-view performed as expected, is in no rush to jump back in the cage until his terms are met.
“Seeing this, it’s taking me back and making me realize, if I really, truly want to get back into the fighting – I’m in (the) negotiation stage,” McGregor said. “Everyone’s trying to get me to do something for money, and that’s all the way up, and all the way down. That’s from the fight game, that’s talk, that’s what they’re trying to do.
“They’re trying to get me back before the end of the year to make the company money so they can re-service the debt after the big $4.2 billion sale and all this bollocks, and I’m sitting there watching them type of wars I came through, back-to-back-to-back, and watching how I got there, and I’m like, I need to take my time here. I’m in no hurry. I’m in a great position. I’m in the forever money stage now. My money is up there rattling around in the money counter machine, so I’m good.”
Prior to fighting Mayweather, McGregor and UFC president Dana White both expected for him to defend his lightweight title before year’s end. That’s clearly not happening at this point.
McGregor is currently too focused on building his “empire,” and who could blame him? As a fighter, he’ll never sniff anything close to what he scored against Mayweather in a single UFC bout. But as a co-promoter, it could help close the gap.
“I still love fighting,” he said. “I love watching that (movie). I’m twitching watching all them shots being thrown. It’s just something I love to do. I don’t know what it is. I will fight again, no doubt, and I’ll fight multiple times. But when I do do it, I must eliminate all the outside stuff, because there’s so much business stuff, so much personal stuff, so much everything involved in an empire – running it, maintaining it, building it.
“You’ve got all these separate entities growing. I’ve got employees that have employees, and it’s all involved in this whole bubble. So if I truly get back and it’s time to fight again, I must distance myself.”
McGregor’s next fight is expected to be a UFC lightweight title unification bout against interim champ Tony Ferguson.