With limited star power to satisfy high expectations in revenue and pay-per-view (PPV) sales, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) needs Conor McGregor back in the Octagon.
McGregor, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily need UFC, especially after scoring an eye-popping payday opposite boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. this past summer. But just because McGregor doesn’t need to return to UFC to add to his already growing Irish bank account doesn’t mean “Notorious” shouldn’t come back to solidify his legacy in mixed martial arts (MMA).
All signs point to McGregor stepping back inside of the cage later this year, but the 29-year-old businessman is going to need considerable compensation to do so. While UFC is unlikely to grant McGregor his wish of receiving equity in the promotion, the organization will most likely open up its wallet more than ever before.
According to former UFC champion and all-around MMA personality Randy Couture, McGregor deserves every penny he gets. As a fighter who brings more to the table than any man or woman before him, including this sport-jumping star, McGregor holds the sort of leverage than you simply can’t ignore.
“[Conor McGregor]’s the poster child for why we need the amendment for Mixed Martial Arts,” Couture said during a recent interview with Submission Radio (shown above). “It will be interesting to see if he comes back to MMA. There’s been a lot of rumors and a lot of talk. Has he been stripped of both his titles? Is he gonna come back and fight again? What’s gonna happen? Who’s he gonna fight? And the big question, what’s he gonna get paid after just getting paid 100 million dollars for a boxing match, even though it was just an exhibition and not for a title? What’s he gonna get paid the next time that he comes back and fights in MMA under the UFC moniker? Why would he expect to get paid any less than he got for boxing? I can guarantee you they are not gonna give him that kind of money. So again, why? What’s the difference? Where is the flaw here?”
As the biggest star in combat sports today, McGregor holds a lot of power in his hands. But as a fighter looking to secure his own financial future and get his hands on multiple opportunities inside and out of the cage, the Irishman hasn’t utilized his notoriety and promotional pull to help out other fighters (yet).
“It’s all these things that I’ve been talking about with regards to why we need to be protected by the federal legislation,” said Couture. “There needs to be transparency in our sport. The exclusive contracts need to be eliminated. We shouldn’t be coerced into giving away all these things in order to be ranked and fight for a title. I should be able to know how much money is made off of any show that I fight in, so I can negotiate for my share of that, my portion of that. So if I’m Conor McGregor, he probably feels like he deserves a bigger piece, and certainly 15 percent of it or 17 percent of it as he’s the guy putting butts in seats and having people sell pay-per-views. So all those things get brought into question by what Conor’s done so far. We would love to obviously have him involved and testify or be involved in pushing the Ali Act through. He’s aware of us, but so far he’s been very focused on his own deal and doing his own deal. So it will be interesting to see how that shakes out for him.”
While there are a ton of questions surrounding McGregor’s potential return to MMA, the current UFC lightweight champion has made it known that he wants to continue his fighting career. When McGregor comes back to UFC he’s going to have the ability to pull more strings than ever before, so it will be interesting to see how that leverage is used and what it changes for fighters that come after him.
With only a few fights left, McGregor will have limited time to set new trends as a star capable of digging deeper into UFC’s pockets. But considering the lightweight king has increased his earnings every step of the way, we’d be crazy to think “Notorous” won’t push the envelope in his ongoing contract negotiations.