LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Is Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler in trouble?
When The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 was announced in Feb. 2023, most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were ecstatic that McGregor’s return was imminent; however, with every passing month, the Irish superstar’s return keeps looking dire.
Last week, McGregor confirmed that he, in fact, will fight Chandler later this year and that the date will be announced on this season of TUF, but after UFC Vegas 74, which went down last night (Sat., June 3, 2023), UFC President, Dana White, seemed unsure.
“First of all, Conor called me a couple of days ago and loved the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter, and said how happy he was to be a part of it. And I think being here and part of the environment and everything else; he felt it again,” White told the media after UFC Vegas 74. “Felt like he wants to get back to fight. The one thing you guys have to understand is this kid has so much money. It’s like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] now. These guys got s—tloads of money, and it’s hard to reel these guys in and get them fired up to get in and fight.”
That sounds concerning for the status of McGregor vs. Chandler, which would be one of the biggest fights in UFC history, and even more about McGregor finding a reason to fight after accruing millions and millions of dollars.
White admitted that he isn’t concerned about whether his cash cow ends up fighting.
“I never get concerned,” White said. “We have a massive roster of people that want to come in and people that are ready to fight and people that want to be Conor McGregor. It’s like for the last 20 years, everybody said, ‘Oh my God, what are you guys going to do when Chuck Liddell retires? You guys are f—ked. Oh my God. GSP. Anderson Silva. This and that.’
“This is a professional sport,” White continued. “People come in here, they achieve great things, and they retire. You can never worry about that type of stuff. It is what it is. It’s part of the game. And it’s my job and my team’s job to find new talent and build them.”
McGregor has been out of action since breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in 2021 (see it). As of this writing, “Notorious” has yet to enter the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool, indicating he is ready to return to action.
For more TUF 31-related news and notes on the upcoming season click here.