On Wednesday, Conor McGregor had a dinner meeting with UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills – a presumably awkward powwow that came one month after the superstar was dropped from UFC 200 for refusing to promote the event.
Earlier that day, White told SportsCenter he was flying to L.A. with hopes of moving past the debacle and deciding the Irishman’s next bout. “Tonight, at like 10 o’clock,” he said, “I’ll have a lot more answers on the Conor McGregor situation.”
Well, if so, White is keeping those answers to himself. A day after McGregor left the dinner in his $500,000 Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, the UFC still has not issued a statement regarding its top star’s future. Will McGregor return for a Welterweight rematch with Nate Diaz after his surprise loss at UFC 196? Move down to 145 pounds to defend his Featherweight title? Or leave the sport altogether and don boxing gloves to take on retired world champion Floyd Mayweather? In an interview with Rolling Stone, longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan gives us his take on what likely happened over dinner – and why he may soon be leaving the sport himself.
What do you think of Conor McGregor’s standoff with UFC, and the meeting he just had with Dana White?
You know what? I think that Conor made a mistake. I get where his perspective is, but I think the guy’s just obsessed with improvement, and he just wanted to have a crazy training camp and get ready for Nate Diaz. He didn’t want to be distracted. I get it from his perspective. I think that was a mistake, though. I think he has a media obligation. It’s a part of any contract you sign when you are promoting fights. It’s part of how the UFC does business. They’re essentially all business partners, and the UFC wanted Conor to do his part of the business. And he didn’t want to do it.
Conor is obsessed. He wants to train and do nothing but train, and if you listen you hear him saying that just one or two of his tweets could do what one of these press conferences or big tours can do. Dana and the Fertittas obviously disagree. So, the solution was “You don’t fight at UFC 200, and we’ll have Jon Jones fight Daniel Corimer instead.” I think it’s a wake-up call for Conor. I mean, it’s what he needed. Conor’s a huge superstar, but he did just lose his last fight, and, as big as he is, he’s not bigger than the sport.
But Dana loves the guy. Hopefully they’ll work it out. I think they’ll work it out. I can’t imagine a world where they don’t work it out.
Do you think Conor vs. Floyd Mayweather could actually happen?
Um, I don’t think that it’s real. But, it could be. And it wouldn’t be a good fight for Conor. I can’t imagine a world where Floyd Mayweather doesn’t box as good as Conor.
Speaking of Mayweather – is it harder to go from MMA to boxing or boxing to MMA?
Boxing to MMA for sure, because there’s a far greater learning curve in the grappling, and there’s no grappling in boxing – but MMA does have boxing. MMA fighters have some knowledge of boxing, and some of them are much better at it than others. Like, there’s some guys that I think could go into boxing right now and be successful. Uriah Hall’s a perfect example. He’s got lightning-fast hands, he is a super athlete and his hand techniques are so sharp and clean. I think that he can go into boxing and actually do really well on a professional level. I think Anderson Silva in his prime probably could have done well as a professional boxer.
But, what do I think would happen if Roy Jones Jr. fought Conor in an MMA match? Conor would fuck him up, 100 percent. I would bet the house. I would literally bet my house that Conor would fuck him up. Unless Conor went crazy and cocky and decided to walk towards Floyd with his chin down, and Floyd cold-cocks him. Like have you ever seen Ray Mercer versus Tim Sylvia? Ray Mercer, who is an Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight champion at one time, fought [MMA fighter] Tim Sylvia in an MMA match. It was supposed to be a boxing match, but the commission wouldn’t approve it because Ray Mercer was a world champion and Tim Sylvia had never fought as a boxer professionally.
So they fought, and they had gloves on in an MMA fight, but they made an agreement where it was gonna be just boxing. But Tim Sylvia went against the agreement and kicked him, and you can see Ray Mercer look at him like, “You motherfucker, I can’t believe you just kicked my leg.” And then Ray Mercer hits Tim Sylvia with a right hand from the bottom of the Earth. He pulled the right hand out of Mordor and slammed it through the back of Tim Sylvia’s head. It was an awful, awful knockout. A one-punch, brutal knockout.
See, Floyd Mayweather is not really that kind of a puncher, and with MMA gloves, probably even less so. But I don’t think it’s gonna happen. If it does happen, I’ll be shocked. I mean, if that’s what they’re meeting about, if Conor says, “I can make a lot of money,” and they get together and they decide they’re gonna make 100 million bucks, who knows? I mean, maybe the UFC co-promotes it with Floyd Mayweather and Conor goes in there and gets lit up, and then says, “Hey, I realize this is not my sport, I gotta go back to MMA,” then that’s possible too. I just can’t imagine a world where he’s quitting.
What about the rumors that the UFC is for sale?
Um, I don’t know about that, I don’t know what’s going on. You know, I get conflicting stories about that. But if the sale goes through, I’m a ghost. That’s a fact. That’s a fact.
Yeah? You’ll be gone?
I’m not working for anybody else. If the sale goes through I’m outta there. I’m already wondering whether or not I can continue doing this as it is. I will always be a fan, I’ll always love it, but shit, I’ve been working for the UFC on and off for almost 20 years. And that’s more than I’ve done anything in my life. I’d like to move on. The only other thing I’ve done longer than that is stand-up comedy, but you know, with stand-up comedy I’m constantly writing new material, I’m traveling, I do it out of my schedule, I do it whenever I want. You know, it’s a very different thing calling fights rather than just being a fan. I’ll always be a fan, for sure, but as far as calling fights…boy, I don’t see that going on very much longer.