Dana White has revealed that Conor McGregor has been a stadium event in his home country for his first title defense if he’s able to overcome current featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in Las Vegas on December 12th.
“If he beats Jose Aldo in Las Vegas in December, the next fight will be in Croke Park,” White stated on the NRL Footy Show during a media tour in Australia to promote UFC 193. “We told him he could defend his title at Croke Park.”
Croke Park is an 80,000 seater stadium situated in McGregor’s home city of Dublin which ‘The Notorious’ has been begging to fight at ever since he first became an overnight superstar in the UFC.
McGregor has taken the promotion by storm in his two and half year stint so far, backing up his outspoken, charismatic words outside of the Octagon with action inside the cage, notching up six victories in a row to date culminating in an interim title victory over Chad Mendes back in July.
Over 800,000 fans watched McGregor TKO Mendes on pay-per-view, while his previous fight with Dennis Siver was the most watched UFC event ever on FOX Sports 1, notching up an average of almost three million viewers, making McGregor one of the UFC’s top two draws alongside Ronda Rousey.
Given that McGregor is essentially a national hero in his native Ireland it’s no surprise that the UFC would be willing to bring a stadium show there, but White has acknowledged that there would be some considerable hurdles to overcome (not to mention the fact that McGregor has to beat the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport first!) before a fight at Croke Park could become a reality.
For one thing there’s the time difference issue. Any fight with McGregor these days is huge business for the UFC which means pay-per-view is pretty much the only option, but for it to air live at a normal time in the U.S it would have to take place at 3.am in Ireland.
There’s also a major issue legally as there’s a curfew that prevents permits being issued for late night events there due to noise pollution, while Croke Park doesn’t have a closed roof, so the very likely possibility of bad weather presents another headache for the UFC.
An interesting side note here is that if this does all come to pass then it means that McGregor wouldn’t be fighting on the promotion’s huge UFC 200 event in Las Vegas on July 2nd which would be something of a suprise given his star power as for their UFC 100 celebrations the promotion put on a show featuring their two biggest stars at the time, Brock Lesnar and Georges St.Pierre, which led to a record breaking 1.6 million PPV buys.