It’s not clear whether it would be fairer to say that Conor McGregor’s relationship with the UFC is surprisingly complicated, or surprisingly simple. Whatever it is, it’s certainly quite a lot different than the relationship most fighters have with the world’s largest MMA promotion. And that’s not a fact lost on Conor McGregor.
Speaking ahead of UFC 205, the UFC’s featherweight champion gave his view on the relationship he’s cultivated with the promotion, and why it doesn’t trickle down to other fighters (transcript via MMA Fighting):
"Listen, everyone in this game does what the f*ck they're told. Everyone but me, because I run this game," McGregor said ahead of UFC 205. "So I don't give a f*ck about all of that. They told you you're on the prelims, you're on the f*cking prelims. They told you to fight, now you're on the f*cking Fight Night. Nobody has no say in this but me. I'm the only one who can say anything about anything. Everyone else does what they're told, and rightfully f*cking so.
"I run this whole sh*t. I run New York. I'm the reason we're even here in the first place. I'm the reason this whole thing is happening. If I wasn't here, this whole ship goes down. And that's the truth. That's facts. There's no one else out there. There's no one but me."
"I'm understanding. I'm a lot more in control of everything, and that goes right down the line from the media content I'm giving out, just everything. I'm in control of absolutely everything in my life. I keep getting better, and that's at everything. Not just skill-wise, not just cardio-wise, not just nutrition-wise. Everything. Every aspect of my life. Business, media, everything. You name it, I get better each and every day."
By the sound of it, as long as McGregor keeps fighting and keeps winning, he has no interest in changing his media presence. Of course, he’s clashed with the UFC before over what he felt to be somewhat excessive duties for the promotion. That conflict resulted in his removal from UFC 200. However, after posting the biggest PPV numbers in the promotion’s history at UFC 202, it’ll be no surprise if he goes on to enjoy the kind of leeway the UFC affords few - if any - other fighters.
McGregor is currently preparing to face Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205, this Saturday, November 12th at Madison Square Garden in New York.