If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Conor McGregor is expecting promotion president Dana White to beg for his return, then “Notorious” is likely to be disappointed in 2018.
The show, as they say, must go on.
Even if it goes on without the trash-talking Irishman, which quickly became the biggest (and wealthiest) star in mixed martial arts (MMA), thanks to his wins inside the Octagon (and loss inside the ring).
But just like it did when stars of yesteryear could no longer hold their place at the top, the sport will soldier on with the addition of new talent, including but not limited to homegrown stars like this guy.
White talks to the gang at FOX Sports Undisputed (via Express.co.uk):
“If Conor McGregor fights next year, that’ll be awesome. If Conor McGregor doesn’t fight, the UFC is going to go on. I’ve been hearing this since 2003. ‘What are you going to do when Chuck Liddell’s gone? What are you going to do when Georges St-Pierre leaves? You’re in big trouble when Anderson Silva’s gone! The list goes on and on. Ronda Rousey. Last year was the best in the company’s history. So we’re going to keep finding new talent and putting on the best fights in the world. That’s what we’re going to continue to do, with or without anybody.”
Remember when Brock Lesnar was setting records in UFC?
McGregor may have priced himself out of future fights, demanding equity in UFC (along with a host of other demands). UFC is in the pay-per-view (PPV) business to make money, not lose it, so there is a ceiling when it comes to profit sharing.
How high that ceiling is all depends on the talent.
McGregor (21-3) has not competed inside the Octagon since stopping Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in late 2016, and by White’s own admission, it could stay that way until later this summer.
Which is why it needs to move on and book this fight.