In some ways, Conor McGregor’s relationship with the UFC has never felt more fraught. He’s threatened retirement before, he’s been suspended before, he’s even made a prior run to boxing (one that got the UFC a whole bunch of money in the process). But at this moment, it truly seems that he and Dana White aren’t seeing eye to eye.
“Everybody here knows – even the ladies – this is some man code stuff,” White told the press after UFC 253, when asked about Conor McGregor’s decision to share texts between he and Dana White showing their recent negotiations. “It’s just something you don’t do. It’s one of the dirtiest things you can do.”
McGregor shot back that White broke the code first, “when you lied about me turning down fights,” and now it looks like he’s just hoping to cut the UFC president out of the conversation altogether. The former double-champ released his latest social media screed. While most of it was focused on his missed opportunities to head kick Floyd Mayweather – and plans for fighting Manny Pacquiao – the SBG Ireland talent eventually got around to his current state of affairs with the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization.
“I’d rather fight MMA anyway,” McGregor wrote of his boxing plans, “not sure why I’ve been held back like this, it’s borderline criminal at this stage. The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on[sic] seen. It’s pretty fucked up when I keep thinking of it. I’ve been right here this whole time.
“Bob Chapek, do you copy!
“I repeat, Bob Chapek - Do You Copy!”
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The very first shot of the fight. Right on the button through the guard. I didn’t even put anything into that shot. Just placed it. It was hard for me not to dwell on the full 12 rounds that were potentially ahead of me and hold back my shots early. Still tho right on the absolute button. The first punch thrown. Remember the experts saying I wouldn’t land even 1 lol. I landed more than them all. The picture above is the very first punch of the fight thrown, and landed, and inside the very first second of the fight. Bums all of them “experts”. Listen to none of them! Really I should have just sat right thru that shot and took his head off and fuck the distance. If it didn’t work out just give him a good boot into the neck and get DQ’d and fined and who’d give a fuck. I’m upset I fully followed the rules for that fight to be honest. Floyd deserved a volley at the least. A shoulder even, break the face. Manny not so much tho I don’t think, but I will see how the build up goes and wait to hear what bitter old Freddie Roach has to say and then make a decision. My Whiskeys at half a b and climbing I could take a fine. I’d rather fight MMA anyway not sure why I’ve been held back like this, it’s borderline criminal at this stage. The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on seen. It’s pretty fucked up when I keep thinking of it. I’ve been right here this whole time. Bob Chapek, do you copy! I repeat, Bob Chapek - Do You Copy! Anyways boxing it is for now and I’m up for this! I hope no bottling takes place here. I’m already agreeing to these limited rules and holding back my full array of weapons. Let’s get it going guys. Much love, the champ champ
Chapek is the CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation, having taken over the role from Bob Iger in February of this year. ESPN has been a Disney property since 1996. And while the sports news & broadcasting platform doesn’t have any ownership stake in the UFC, as the promotion’s sole North American broadcast partner, both ESPN & Disney have shown some surprising sway in Dana White’s decision making.
Back in April, amid the early stages of America’s pandemic response Dana White told reporters that he had been forced to ice the UFC’s plans to move their UFC 249 PPV event to tribal lands in California in order to avoid COVID-19 regulations against public gatherings. The reason?
“We got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level of ESPN,” White told ESPN in a brief statement. “And the powers that be there asked me to stand down, and not do this event next Saturday.”
It was a major move from the executive level to steer the promotion’s immediate future. But it seems doubtful that the same kind of effort would be made when it comes to getting Conor McGregor fights. In the meantime, the ‘Notorious’ Irishman has teased a return to boxing and a potential charity showcase rematch against Dustin Poirier. But obviously, those will both depend on what his contract allows.