Although UFC president Dana White continuously denies it, it appears as if there could be a hole in the relationship of the promotion and their biggest star, reigning 145-pound title holder the “Notorious” Conor McGregor.
This theory was never more evident than it was earlier this week when the UFC pulled McGregor from his scheduled UFC 200 (July 9, 2016) headliner against Nate Diaz after McGregor refused to participate in all of the company’s promotional demands.
The brash and outspoken Irishman has repeatedly spoken on his drawing power, also constantly noting that he’s on course to be ‘neck and neck’ with the UFC brass in terms of promotional hierarchy.
On top of that, the “Notorious” has also tossed around the idea of self-promoting his own fight at some point, a simply outlandish idea.
In fact, according to former fighter turned analyst Chael Sonnen, McGregor’s ultimate goal is to self-promote.
“The American Gangster” even went as far as to say that the “Notorious” one was interested in fighting former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland prior to Henderson’s signing with Bellator:
“I don’t know what his future is. I can tell you what he wants it to be. I can tell you what his vision is. Everyone’s got a vision and a dream, all you people do too. He’s no different. He wants to do self-promotions. He wants to become a promoter. He believes that he could book Croke Park and sell it out. There was a time even when there was a little bit of discussion going on (about) that. Sonnen said on a recent episode of Beyond the Fight.
“I believe he reserved some name, ‘McGregor Promotions’ or something silly like that. And Ben Henderson was floating around, he wasn’t under contract with anybody. Now he’s under contract with Bellator, but for a minute he wasn’t. Conor thought ‘well look, I’m gonna do my own promotion, I can sell out Croke Park right in my hometown. I can find some TV sponsor to partner up with me, and I’ve got an opponent, his name is Ben Henderson.’
While Sonnen’s claims likely aren’t too realistic, nothing can be counted out for McGregor, who has changed the game of mixed martial arts in just a few years.