It’s been about a year since Conor McGregor last fought in the UFC, and UFC president Dana White isn’t sure when he will return. While talking to members of the media this week, White said they were working on an fight for McGregor at the end of the year – he was a possibility for UFC 219 on December 30th before his recent Bellator incident – but he’s “just not ready.”
White also questioned if McGregor will ever be ready to fight again following his big payday from the Floyd Mayweather fight. McGregor’s minimum purse was reportedly $30 million, and he was expected to make upwards of $100 million once his share of the promotion was taken into account. It’s the most McGregor has been paid for a fight in his career.
“Money changes everything,” White explained. “He may never fight again. He has got $100 million in the bank. It’s tough to get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million.”
Jose Aldo and Tony Ferguson have both been vocal about wanting the UFC to put pressure on McGregor to either defend his title or vacate because it’s been almost two years since he knocked Aldo out for the featherweight championship. White responded to Ferguson specifically, saying he “has no business to talk about anything” and “we ain’t taking direction from Tony Ferguson,” according to the Review Journal’s Adam Hill.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to run this business with or without anybody,” White continued. “If Conor wants to fight again, we absolutely want Conor to come back. But if Conor walks away and doesn’t fight again, it’s part of the game.”
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After the Mayweather fight, many wondered if the next logical step for McGregor was the WWE. There was one particular rumor that gained steam in October which was centered around McGregor making an appearance in WrestleMania early next year. In addition to White quickly shooting that rumor down — “It’s not true,” he said. “It’s absolutely not true” – Ken Shamrock, who competed both in the UFC and WWE throughout his career, isn’t as convinced as others about McGregor having a future in wrestling.
“Conor McGregor would, I believe, have a really tough time trying to transfer over from the combat sport into the entertainment sport,” Shamrock told SB Nation’s Bloody Elbow. “Not to say he can’t – it’s possible for anybody. Just because he’s a lighter weight, he would have to have a whole lot of different types of moves in order for it to make sense for him to get in there and be able to wrestle the bigger guys.”
Regardless, there’s no doubt McGregor has plenty of options if he wants to continue fighting in some capacity.