Friday’s UFC 200 press conference turned out to be an uncomfortable occasion for Dana White as he was continually forced to talk about Conor McGregor’s absence from the line-up.
In front of the assembled gathering of fans and media, White confirmed that the Irish sensation has been pulled from the card, saying that, “It’s an unpopular decision but it’s the right decision.”
McGregor threatened to retire from the promotion earlier in the week, then later backed down from that, but indicated that he wasn’t willing to do the media obligations that the UFC were demanding off him three months out from the fight, which had included a three-stop media tour in Stockton, New York and Las Vegas this week.
“We get criticised a lot for bending too much to Conor – and we do. Conor is a guy that has stepped up and fought in big fights on short notice. I respect Conor very much as a fighter and I like him, but you have to show up and do this stuff.”
White also stressed that it was unfair to the other fighters on the stage, like Jose Aldo who’d flown in from Brazil, and Joanna jedrzejczyk who’d come from Poland, to give special treatment to McGregor who had just arrived in Iceland to begin his fight camp.
While he wasn’t in attendance, McGregor had clearly been watching the presser live and he responded to White’s argument with a post on Twitter.
“Everyone flew in,” McGregor wrote. “Respect. But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months.
One fighter who was in attendance at the press conference was Nate Diaz, with White saying that he would now be looking for a new opponent for the star now that the rematch with McGregor had been called off.
When asked what he thought of McGregor’s comment he replied in classic Diaz fashion, stating, “Conor got his ass beat!”
However, Diaz didn’t make life easy for the UFC president either, throwing a spanner in the works by revealing that he’d only fight McGregor.
“I came here to fight McGregor,” Diaz stated. “I don’t have too much interest in fighting anyone else,” he continued, adding later that, “if that fight ain’t gonna happen I’m going on vacation.”
Dana White did indicate that the UFC are still working on another title fight for the Las Vegas show, and admitted that it was “possible” that a light-heavyweight title rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier could be lined up, though of course that would depend on how ‘Bones’ fairs against OSP tonight in the main event of UFC 197.