‘Money’ is to blame for Conor McGregor’s UFC decline, claims Dana White

Dana White says Conor McGregor's losing streak and inactivity is due to money he has made.

By: Anton Tabuena | 1 week ago

Even prior to his nasty leg break, Conor McGregor hasn’t been as active as he was during his peak when he fought at least twice a year, and three times in both 2015 and 2016. He has also lost three of his last four fights, with his 2020 win over Donald Cerrone being his only victory in the last seven years.

What’s the reason for this inactivity and string of losses? If you believe the even wealthier man in Dana White, the 35-year-old Conor McGregor being rich is to blame for all this.

Conor McGregor’s UFC decline due to money, says Dana White

MMA: UFC 264-Weigh Ins, Jul 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor is greeted by UFC president Dana White during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports, 09.07.2021 16:52:20, 16389698, NPStrans, T-Mobile Arena, UFC, Dana White, MMA, Conor McGregor PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xGaryxA.xVasquezx 16389698
IMAGO / Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

Like many MMA fighters these days, Conor McGregor switched to boxing in order to get a career high payday. Apart from that massive purse against Floyd Mayweather, McGregor also sold his ownership stake in Proper Twelve whiskey for $150 million.

According to White, regardless of your craft, earning that kind of money completely changes you.

“I’m sure you’ve seen this with colleagues and friends and people that you know,” Dana White said in an interview with Piers Morgan. “Once a certain level of money is attained, to be the person that you were coming up, to be that hungry and work that hard and be that dedicated to the sport or whatever craft it is you do, money changes everything. And Conor McGregor has made that kind of money. It’s not a knock. It’s just a fact.”

White also seemed to allude to former UFC executives that retired after receiving a big payday from the promotion’s sale, like infamous matchmaker Joe Silva.

“When we sold the company in 2016, this was sort of a Microsoft of fighting. There were a lot of people that made a lot of money, and a lot of people left, and they went and retired, or moved onto… you have to have a certain type of drive to make that kind of money,” White said.

Conor McGregor doesn’t have that hunger and drive anymore?

“You’ve seen guys in this sport when they make that kind of money, they’ll fight a lot less like Conor has, or they go on losing streaks because you are not that same person once you get that kind of money,” White said.

“The hunger and the drive is not the same,” White argued. “Conor McGregor’s a perfect example. Everything that Conor McGregor ever dreamed of, and stuff he couldn’t possibly dream of in his life, he has right now. It’s tough to be on a yacht all summer then say I got to get back in the gym and start grinding. Again, it’s not a knock, it’s just the way life is.”

Dana White of course still works very hard and remained active in the UFC, even years after also being able to purchase everything he ever dreamed off. As the incredibly wealthy and newly promoted UFC CEO noted though, you must have special “drive” like his, to continue grinding when you have that much money.

It’s probably a rare trait. Perhaps White wanting to keep his athletes sharp and “hungry,” is why the UFC is estimated to have only given fighters 13% of the revenue in 2022. Maybe he cares so much about his fighters’ success, that he just doesn’t want them to become like the countless well-paid stars from boxing, NBA, or NFL who all just stopped winning…

LAS VEGAS, NV - March 4: (L) Conor McGregor and Dana White share a laugh dayside at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane : Event on March 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States.(Photo by Louis Grasse PxImages) (Louis Grasse SPP) PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRAxMEX Copyright: xLouisxGrassex xSPPx SPP_157547
Photo by Louis Grasse / SPP / PxImages / IMAGO
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About the author
Anton Tabuena
Anton Tabuena

Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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