Ultimate Fighting Championship president, Dana White, slammed the media after reports about Conor McGregor turning down the promotion’s offer to fight Tony Ferguson on short notice surfaced last week.
‘The Notorious’ from Ireland recently announced for a third time he’s retiring from mixed martial arts as he wasn’t happy with the UFC’s decision to book interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje against Khabib Nurmagomedov for a unification bout this September.
The 31-year old interim champion famously at UFC 249 last month after dominating Ferguson at UFC 249 to earn a shot at the undisputed championship, which leaves the Irishman without an opponent for a lightweight title fight.
“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,” White said on ESPN’s First Take.
Conor McGregor has revealed why he decided to retire for the third time. https://t.co/LNlYRw9cug
— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) June 7, 2020
Not A Replacement
In the same interview, the UFC president said ‘The Notorious’ could have been in Gaethje’s position had he accept the short notice bout against Ferguson.
‘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.”
Say what you want about Conor, but he's not a replacement fighter, by any means. Why would he want to fight on a card where he gets no promotional buildup to sell the maximum amount of PPVs to get a decent cut of them?https://t.co/SkkmuWElDb via @MMAFighting
— Stephie Haynes BlackLivesMatter (@CrooklynMMA) June 9, 2020
The past week has been tough for the Nevada-based promotion a some of its biggest stars including Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal have expressed their intentions to leave the UFC.
Following reports of McGregor declining the replacement offer, White took aim at the media and made it clear the Irishman turned down the fight even before Nurmagomedov pulled out.
“Never did Conor turn down a last-minute fight. He told us way before that, that he was out of the fight, and we never even asked him again,” White told MMA Junkie.
“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 b*******. Absolute f****** b*******.”
McGregor last fought at UFC 246 last January and scored a vicious 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone. It was his first MMA win in three years.
MMA FEED: UFC president Dana White was not at all happy with the media over headlines drawn about his recent comments on Conor McGregor. https://t.co/Z4fbsDfGom
— Parhleyjani (@parhleyjani) June 14, 2020
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Conor McGregor and UFC)