Dana White has insisted Conor McGregor will not get the fight that he wants right now.
The former two-division champion made it clear he wasn’t happy with the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s decision not to give him Justin Gaethje for his potential return this September, which forced him to retire from the sport for a third time.
Gaethje, 31, became the interim lightweight champion in May after completing a major upset against number one contender Tony Ferguson in the revamped UFC 249 fight card. With the win, ‘The Highlight’ will have the chance to unify the lightweight belts with current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, which could happen this fall.
The matchup leaves McGregor without an opponent for a lightweight title bout but the UFC president said it was the Irishman who is to blame for his current status.
Involving the Back links, Episode 2: Conor McGregor ‘retires’ all over again, UFC fighters vs. Dana White and more https://t.co/49prknNHmz
— mymma (@mymma11) June 9, 2020
In a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, the outspoken UFC chief said ‘The Notorious’ could have been in Gaethje’s position had he not reject the offer to fight Ferguson on short-notice.
‘El Cucuy’ was originally slated to challenge Nurmagomedov at UFC 249 but the Russian pulled out of the fight due to travel restrictions. The UFC then tapped Gaethje as the replacement and went on to spoil the ‘most anticipated lightweight matchup in history’ by defeating Ferguson.
“He wants to fight Gaethje. 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,” White said.
“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.”
Conor McGregor has revealed why he decided to retire for the third time. https://t.co/LNlYRw9cug
— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) June 7, 2020
White recently told McGregor to wait for the winner of the unification lightweight bout as the UFC could not grant his wish this time.
“Conor McGregor is frustrated right now because I mean look what’s going on. Look at what we’re pulling off,” the UFC president continued.
“We’re literally just going to Yas Island right now to pull off these fights because the hardest thing to do right now is to get people into the country from other parts of the world. We are a true global business.”
“We’re the only one pulling off live sports right now. If I continue to do fights in the United States, I’m going to burn out all my American talent.
“Now we got Yas Island ready to go, it’s set up. This is just a matter of Conor being frustrated I think in that he can’t get what he wants right now. It’s just not possible.”
Dana White claims Conor McGregor declined replacement opportunity that Justin Gaethje ended up taking.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 9, 2020
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Conor McGregor and UFC)