Calling Conor McGregor a popular UFC fighter is an understatement.
He’s a superstar; one of the most well-known fighters in mixed martial arts, ever. He talks like no one else. He acts like no one else. He plays the mental game of fighting like no one else.
McGregor does a lot for the UFC, considering the fact that he has headlined some of the biggest cards in recent memory, including his pair of fights against Nate Diaz. And UFC president Dana White seems to agree. McGregor’s time spent giving back to the organization has earned him special treatment from the UFC, White admitted Thursday.
“For me to say no would be ridiculous. Of course he does,” White told Jim Rome on SiriusXM. “I respect this guy so much as a fighter, and there’s give and take in this business. It just can’t be take, take on either side. There’s give and take in every relationship. This guy has given, given, given; when we’re looking down the barrel of a fight being cancelled, this guy steps up and takes any type of fight. He deserves something back. So when he wants something, there’s give and take, and I do it. A lot of these guys want, want, want, but don’t want to give back in return. So it’s that kind of relationship.”
White made it clear that it’s relatively difficult to deal with McGregor because of the Irishman’s sometimes controversial actions outside the cage. That said, because “The Notorious” is such a huge superstar and has led the UFC to much of its success over the past year and a half, the featherweight champion’s actions are simply something White has to accept, for the most part.
There have been times, however, where McGregor has crossed the line, such as refusing to promote his scheduled UFC 200 fight ahead of the landmark event, which resulted in him being pulled from the card.
“People ask me if he’s difficult to deal with. Yeah, he’s fricking 20 minutes late again today at the press conference, and he says crazy stuff,” White said. “But much like anybody who has kids, you pick and choose your battles. Him saying, ‘I’m not coming to the press conference.’ Then, guess what, you’re not fighting on UFC 200. You can’t not show up to a press conference. First of all, it’s the most important day of the week other than the weigh-ins and the fight. You just can’t miss it. So we pulled him out of UFC 200. That fight was worth fighting, for me.”
McGregor is scheduled to headline UFC 205, where he will look to make history by holding two UFC belts simultaneously, against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez this weekend. The pay-per-view card is lining up to be the organization’s biggest event of all time and also marks the UFC’s long-awaited debut in New York City.
About the author