The UFC is reportedly not very happy with Conor McGregor, but there’s not much the promotion can do about that.
McGregor, a former lightweight and featherweight champion, is preparing for his October return against current 155-pound titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 229 headliner. Unlike previous McGregor blockbuster fights, nearly a month out, there has been little media leading up to potentially the biggest fight in UFC history.
According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter, McGregor has not agreed to much media prior to the Nurmagomedov title bout. But because of McGregor’s stardom and what he financially means to the company simply as an individual, the UFC is certainly unable to deliver any means of punishment.
“One of the reasons you haven’t seen much in the way of interviews and such is that McGregor has not agreed to do anything,” Meltzer wrote (via MMAMania.com). “There are no press conferences scheduled because McGregor at this point hasn’t agreed to them. There is a lot of frustration within the UFC about McGregor’s attitude, but in the end, he’s got the leverage and the ticket sales and secondary market results only give him more leverage.”
According to Meltzer, it might be in the Irishman’s best interest to promote the Nurmagomedov bout to its full potential. That said, the reason McGregor has been rather quiet ahead of his first MMA fight since November 2016 could be because he knows Nurmagomedov will likely give him one of his toughest fights to date.
“The feeling is that this may be the biggest non-boxing PPV of all-time, and the only reason it wouldn’t be is that McGregor hasn’t been pushing it hard,” Meltzer wrote. “McGregor was able to get a larger piece of the action for this fight than any of his UFC fights to date, so there is a direct correlation more than ever between his work in promoting the fight and his pocket book, but this may also show that he knows he’s in a real fight and doesn’t want to break training.”
According to veteran MMA journalist Damon Martin, “The Notorious” is expected to arrive in Las Vegas in mid to late September to finish up his training camp.
Now it appears Conor McGregor is not expected to return to Las Vegas until mid to late September to finish up his camp for UFC 229 per @MeganOlivi— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) August 30, 2018
Still no word on a press conference or event featuring both Conor and Khabib. #UFC229
UFC 229 takes place Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.