Conor McGregor may have been rumored to be involved in a bar fight at a pub in his native Dublin this past weekend, but the much larger issue surrounding the UFC lightweight champion is when – and if – he will ever defend a UFC title.
And while outside-the-cage scandals such as this and his highly-publicized Bellator 187 incident seem to be flooding any and all headlines about the Irish MMA star, no official return is imminent for a champion who has not set foot in the UFC Octagon for nearly 13 months.
White admitted that the UFC was trying to get him booked for the year-ending pay-per-view show of UFC 219 on December 30, but McGregor was ‘dealing’ with Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) president Mike Mazzulli, the leader of the commission that presided over Bellator 187, and would possibly face sanctions from them, but it remained unclear.
Regardless, White said via MMA Fighting they had been trying to book him a fight, but after he made a reported $100 million to fight Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring this August, his desire to fight was expectedly dimming to where he may legitimately never fight again:
“Listen … Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got a f*cking hundred million dollars.
“These guys make money and that’s it. Fighting is the worst. Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything for a lot of people.”
White further elaborated on McGregor’s current situation due to the Mayweather fight, offering the stance that McGregor was young, rich, even god-like figure in his home of Dublin, which is far from the most stable of environments for a professional athlete. White admitted McGregor has a ton of talent but referred to the curious case of one Jon Jones, who perhaps let the trappings of fame and fortune get to him before his life and career began spiraling out of control, with McGregor’s path having recently shown signs of similar troubles:
“He’s a young, rich kid who is a god in Ireland,” White said. “That’s not the healthiest environment either. It’s all part of it. I don’t know if you guys remember in the very beginning with Jon Jones. There’s no doubt the talent was there. I used to go, ‘The guy is talented, but he’s young, he’s rich, he’s the king of the world now. Hopefully he can keep it together.’ That was way before the crazy shit started to happen. And there it is. It happens.
“What’s weird is it happens more in this sport, in fighting, in the fighting business, more than any other sport.”
Troubles or not, however, McGregor is still by far the UFC’s biggest and most recognizable star, and they desperately need him to return to the Octagon for at least one more fight if they ever want to dream of gaining the sky-high PPV results he provided them with during a booming 2016.
With much of the MMA fanbase clamoring for McGregor to finally defend his title or vacate it, White admitted that much is simply not the case. From his point of view, the UFC is attempting to get a new deal signed with their most illustrious headliner, and for good reason:
“We need to figure that out. Right now, with him it’s not about defend or vacate. We’re working on a new deal with him right now.”