All eyes in the UFC weren’t glued to UFC 197 to see whether Jon Jones would claim the interim Light Heavyweight Championship or whether Demetrious Johnson would successfully defend his Flyweight Championship for the eighth time. When the UFC announced that Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier would face off in a much anticipated rematch at UFC 200 on Good Morning America surprisingly enough. Even with the awkwardness of Chuck Liddell and Paige VanZant dancing, it was a feather in the cap of the UFC with the recent passing of MMA in New York. It also sent a clear message to one Conor McGregor.
Sit at home in your Mac Mansion and watch UFC 200 on PPV.
Conor McGregor made his power play against the UFC boss and promptly failed.
Will UFC 200 draw as many PPV buys with the Jones/Cormier rematch as the anticipated McGregor/Diaz rematch? The match won’t hit the 1,500,000 buys that McGregor/Diaz drew at UFC 196, but the card is strong enough to hit a million buys. The first Jones/Cormier fight drew 800,000 buys with a rather weak undercard and 200 has Aldo/Edgar 2 and Miesha Tate defending the Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes. Should the company lure a certain French-Canadian Nos Active Energy pitchman/alien/dinosaur enthusiast out of retirement for a number one contender’s match against Nate Diaz would put UFC 200 over the top.
It would also guarantee that McGregor would be sitting in his Mac Mansion and watching the UFC’s MSG debut. The company all but guaranteed this would happen and the card will be built upon the return of the last golden child: Ronda Rousey.
We all know that Dana and Conor will inevitably make up and Dana would scoff at anybody brining up this little tiff as mud rucking or being a hater. White is no different than Vince McMahon in that no bridge is permanently burned if there’s money to be made. Dana White has feuded with big name stars like Tito Ortiz, Dan Henderson, Rampage Jackson, BJ Penn and Randy Couture in the past, but if there’s a PPV buy that can be popped with their face on the poster, past grudges be dammed. Of course once you’ve lost one too many fights or you can’t move the needle anymore, Uncle Dana won’t be willing to rebuild that bridge once you burn it again. The man has the biggest enemy list since Richard Nixon. Then you have a guy like Tim Sylvia that Dana buried publically and guaranteed would never fight in the UFC again. If you remember, Tim complained about the money Brock was receiving, left the company, was destroyed by Fedor in 36 seconds and capped it off by getting knocked out by Ray Mercer in nine seconds. Frank Shamrock might be the only fighter to have issues with Dana and refuse to fight again for the UFC and the UFC could have made a pretty penny with Shamrock/Ortiz II.
Much like those fighters, Conor has made his play for power and has failed. If he had held up the UFC for more money, there’s a good chance Dana White and The Fertittas would have been willing to talk turkey. They’ll strip of him of his belt eventually if he decides to stay on the sidelines and he’ll face his punishment in the cage when he returns. Offer him a chance to move up to lightweight to counter his brutal weight cut and let Khabib Nurmagomedov welcome him to the division. Or Rafael Dos Anjos should he lose the Lightweight Championship to Eddie Alvarez on July 7th. If you think I’m being overly dramatic, look at the fighters I mentioned and their first fight back into the fold.
Randy Couture against Brock Lesnar at UFC 91, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson against Rashad Evans at UFC 114, Tito Ortiz against Chuck Liddell at UFC 44, and again against Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 and finally BJ Penn against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 58. Dana will talk up that these fighters will want to reestablish themselves at contenders, but the reality it’s punishment for crossing the boss. Conor will be back but the UFC won’t cater to him like they did when he was the golden boy and if he’s pulls another move like this, he’ll be benched until his contract runs out. Is this right at all? Absolutely not, but without a fighter’s union or even the Ali Act being expanded to MMA, fighters have little to no options in a situation like this.
Better start working on your ground game Conor.