At a TUF 26 media luncheon today, UFC president Dana White went in-depth talking about his biggest star, lightweight champion Conor McGregor. After discussing McGregor’s alleged participation in a bar brawl in Dublin that has tabloids buzzing, he decided to talk about a wide variety of other things in regards to the Irish fighter as well.
Along the way, he commented on McGregor’s incident in a Bellator cage a couple of weeks ago, whether he will actually fight again, compares his situation to that of Jon Jones, how being rich changes people, and a few other things.
On the Bellator issues and whether that stopped him from a rumored UFC return on December 30th:
“The punishment, you know. He was being dealt with by the head of the ABC. And we were gonna fight him...regardless what Audie (Attar) says, we were working on a fight for him at the end of the year. And he’s just not ready.”
“We’re still in that...Conor might never fight again. He’s got a f—kin’ hundred million dollars. Fighting's the worst. Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you have a hundred million dollars. Money changes everything with a lot of people. So, we'll see."
"And the other thing with the Bellator thing - he's a young, rich kid who is a God in Ireland. That's not the healthiest environment either. 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's talented. But he's young and he's rich and he's the king of the world right now. Hopefully he can keep it together.' And that's way before any of the crazy sh-t started."
When Jones was brought up, reporters asked him about the public statements Dana made about Jones a few years ago during his rise, warning him about “cling-ons” and other types that come along with the package when you get rich quick. When it is implied that Conor isn’t in that situation and he brings a lot of it on himself, White interjected:
"Conor's got a lot too. When he travels, he's got people for days with him. When you make that kind of money, you're that famous, and you're a professional athlete, you're going to have an overload of cling-ons."
On Conor’s attitude, and the idea that negotiating with him is difficult:
"He's actually not that hard to deal with. If he could show up on f--king time, it'd be perfect. He's cocky, he deserves to be cocky, the kid is incredible. Being cocky is part of this business. If you're not cocky, you're probably in the wrong business. You have to believe in yourself the way that this guy believes in himself."
Finally, he revealed that they did want McGregor to fight on the December 30th card. After dismissing what interim champion Tony Ferguson has to say on the subject, White indicated that it’s not just about figuring out that fight - he said that McGregor is negotiating a new deal:
"Right now with him, it's not about defend or vacate. We're working on a new deal right now with him."
He’s then asked if McGregor will get “points” - ie. a piece of ownership. Something McGregor has made demands about.
"Did Jordan get points?" he said.