DANA White has made clear that UFC 200 will roll on without Conor McGregor after announcing Jon Jones v Daniel Cormier II as the new main event for the Las Vegas card - though the Irish megastar took a shot at the UFC over a fortune in potential lost revenue.
White rebuffed questions about revenue loss and even reduced ticket prices from not having McGregor on the card, having sensationally axed the Irish megastar from his rematch against Nate Diaz over failing to front for promotional work.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that UFC 200 might lose $45 million in revenue from McGregor not being on the card but didn’t get a straight answer when he asked White about potential losses today at the card’s New York press conference.
“Listen, Conor’s going to fight again,” said White, who revealed that he hasn’t spoken to McGregor since last week and again intimated that he would not get a fight on the UFC’s blockbuster debut in New York at UFC 205.
“He’s going to fight at UFC 201, 202, 203 – whatever the deal might be. We’ll see … what’s next when that plays out. But (UFC) 200 is the fight everybody’s been looking to for a long time. It is what it is. The show’s going to roll on, and Conor will fight again.”
McGregor, of course, had his say on Twitter just ahead of the press conference, this time via a cutting retweet from a fan account:
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest drawcard and claimed on Twitter during the press conference that he skipped in Vegas that he had made the company $400 million in eight months.
Asked about tickets for the July 10 (Australian time) show at T-Mobile Arena being lowered with McGregor now off the card, White – who faced boos from a hostile crowd in New York – again deflected the question.
“I honestly don’t even know what ticket prices are off the top of my head; I don’t know,” he said. “Nothing’s changed. We’re in the fight business, man. Fights fall out and things happens, and we roll on. It’s the way that it works.
“The Conor thing has been crazy, and it is what it is.”
White laid the blame for McGregor’s removal from UFC 200 squarely on the fighter.
“This is what we do,” White said. “This is how it works. I didn’t prevent him from fighting at UFC 200. He knew what the deal was. I told him what the deal is, and he opted to (skip the press conference).
“Conor asked to fight Nate Diaz. Conor wants to fight Nate Diaz. Conor doesn’t back down from fights, man. One of the things that’s made Conor popular and as big as he is is this dude wants to fight. This guy comes to fight, and he comes out guns blazing.
“Conor is fun. Conor is a stud. I have a lot of respect for Conor. Conor and I just had a … you have to show up and do the PR. You have to do it.”
White said Diaz was still being offered replacement fights, despite his assertion that he only wanted to face McGregor and was otherwise going on vacation.
“We’re going to offer him some fights and see what he wants to do,” White said. “It sounded like he wants Conor and only Conor at the press conference but we gave him the opportunity to … I didn’t want to rip him off of the opportunity to fight in 200 if that’s what he wanted, so we’ll see what happens.”
FULL UFC 200 CARD SO FAR
Jon Jones v Daniel Cormier II (light-heavyweight title unification)
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar II (interim featherweight title)
Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes (women’s bantamweight title)
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Gegard Mousasi vs. Derek Brunson
Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Lauzon
Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin
Jim Miller vs. Takanori Gomi
Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has grown from a controversial no-holds-barred gladiatorial sideshow into a billion dollar phenomenon eclipsing boxing as the dominant combat sport in the world. But far from Las Vegas, in sweat-soaked gyms and low-rent arenas across America, the big lights are but a dream.