Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White is here to set the record straight about Conor McGregor’s involvement with UFC 249.
White made some comments earlier this week in an interview with ESPN about how McGregor turned down a short-notice fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, only to give the spot to Justin Gaethje, who defeated “El Cucuy” and will now fight UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year.
“He wants to fight Gaethje,” White told ESPN. “Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib. He just beat Tony Ferguson. Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out. He came back and said ‘I’m not a replacement fighter, I’m not going to do it.’ He would be in that position now if he took the fight. He didn’t, Gaethje did so Gaethje gets it.”
What White didn’t reveal was the timing of McGregor’s decision to no longer be a “replacement fighter.” Many media outlets thought White may have been taking a jab at McGregor, especially given the Irishman’s untimely retirement announcement, but that’s not the case. McGregor didn’t refuse to step in on short notice against Ferguson, he actually decided long before that that he wouldn’t fill in for anyone moving forward.
White explained all during today’s UFC on ESPN 10 pre-fight media scrum (full replay HERE).
“Never did Conor turn down a last-minute fight,” White said. “He told us way before that, that he was out of the fight, and we never even asked him again.”
“All these idiots start writing stories that I ripped him and that I said he wouldn’t take the fight and everything else. It’s all bullsh*t. Absolute f*cking bullsh*t,” added White. “And the only thing that was stupider than the f*cking stories they wrote was the headlines that they put on it. It’s f*cking unbelievable. You literally cannot believe anything you read.”
These wimpy media members are something else, right?
While White may have done his best to cover his tracks in the case of McGregor, the UFC president still has a ton of problems on his hands. Top-flight superstars Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal continue to battle the promotion for financial injustice, while newly-retired ex-bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo does DMT with Mike Tyson in wait of his own pay bump.
For now, things seem good between White and McGregor. All the UFC president has to do is find “Notorious” the fight he wants and drag him back out of retirement for a third time.
Easier said than done.