It seems that whether McGregor is fighting or not, he has the ability to set the MMA world and the wider community alight. In case you have been hiding under a rock for the last 48 hours, Conor McGregor sent out an ominous tweet where he hinted that he might be retiring. This would seem very odd since apparently he has a significant pay day around the corner when he would have faced Nate Diaz in the headlining fight of UFC 200.
Dana White, the president of the UFC, came out with a somewhat different statement where he said he was going to pull Conor McGregor out of UFC 200 for failing to turn up to a press conference. The devil is in the details here. ‘Pull off card’ doesn’t mean ‘retired’… so what exactly is going on?
Most people are assuming that this is some sort of a negotiation play by Conor McGregor. Rumours have been around for some time that the relationship between fighter and promoter isn’t ideal. It appears that Conor now wants to try and make use of his leverage against the UFC for a bigger contract. The point seems fairly clear here… Conor is their biggest star, and feels like he has not been compensated accordingly. How the UFC reacts from here on out will be very interesting to see.
Conor McGregor has done what many fighters occasionally dream off when they feel they are not being treated fairly by the promotion. But what makes this very different is that Conor is in a position of power where he can use his leverage and significant following to pressure the UFC. Fighters in the Middle East have been afraid to do this as of yet…. Why? There isn’t really an answer here.
Fighters in the region have been messed around with for some time. Whether its late payments or non-payment, low purses, commissioning errors, flight errors, etc…. The list goes on and on. But fighters are usually more than willing to eat it and stay quiet. Why? Is it because of a lack of competition (‘if I upset them then I can’t fight because there isn’t anywhere else to fight’)? Is it because their coaches are afraid about upsetting the promotions and believe that this is their only chance of ‘marketing’ their gyms?
Whatever it is, it is time for fighters to either form some kind of a union, or be transparent about organisations that have messed them about. Yes it might mean that they are the ‘bad guys’, but isn’t worse to stay quiet and happily get messed about in the future? It’s time for fighters to stick up for themselves.