Conor McGregor made headlines during his recent trip to Russia in October when he announced his long anticipated return to the Octagon on January 18th.
There was only one problem ... the UFC hadn’t signed off on anything.
A week after McGregor’s statement, UFC president Dana White made it clear that “The fight is not done yet, you know? [McGregor] had a press conference and announced he was coming back, but no deals were done. No fights are done. No contracts have been signed. But yes, that’s what we’re looking to do.”
A month has gone by and the promotion remains unusually silent about the whole thing. Dana White hasn’t been hyping up the return of McGregor. Instead, he needs to be prodded by the media to bring up his big money making superstar, and any question is met with a non-committal answer.
So all that just makes this latest news even more dire: The UFC’s event section now lists UFC 246 as the Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes event on February 8th in Houston, Texas. UFC 245 is, of course, going down on December 14th in Las Vegas featuring Kamarau Usman vs. Colby Covington and Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski.
For the numerically challenged let me spell the situation out: that leaves no numbers in between for McGregor’s big January 18th pay-per-view.
To add more smoke to the idea that no McGregor fight is happening in January, UFC heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik shared a fight contract that has the January 18th event being listed as a UFC Fight Night.
2 вопроса:— Alexey Oleynik (@oleynikufc) November 19, 2019
-кому победные перчатки над Тревисом Брауном?
only 2 questions:
-Should I sign a contract for the fight?
- Who should I give the gloves from my victory fight over Travis Browne?@ETFMG_CEO @ETFMG @FirstRoundMgmt#ufc #oleynik #etfmg $MJ #victory pic.twitter.com/KPB1uUNAf6
Of course, things could change on a dime. The UFC and Conor McGregor have been known to butt heads harder than bighorn sheep during mating season, only to turn around and announce a big fight. Leaving things to the last second could all be part of the behind the scenes game of chicken that will be the difference between McGregor making $2 or $20 million.
That being said, schedules need to be maintained. The UFC needs to get Jon Jones’ fight in Texas rolling, and for that it needs a ton of promo material with the right damn PPV number assigned. And as we’ve been saying since news of a second alleged sexual assault involving McGregor came to light via the New York Times, right now doesn’t exactly feel like the best time for the UFC to be putting the spotlight back on McGregor.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. But at a certain point, you know Conor McGregor won’t continue to train on the sidelines for nothing.