Conor McGregor became the first UFC fighter to ever be a champion in two different weight classes simultaneously. He knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the second round of their main event fight at UFC 205, the debut UFC event in the state of New York. The Irish fighter has been breaking gate and PPV records over the last year and is demanding an equity stake in the UFC.
In his post-fight press conference Conor McGregor said:
“If you want to come at me, if you want me to stick around and help service that debt and continue to push the company, bring me on board, for real. I need to be set for life for this. If you want me to be truly on on board, then I need to be all-in on this proper, as an owner, and have an equity stake in the company. That’s what I’m looking for.”
“They’ve got to come talk to me now… Both belts. Money. I want the ownership now. If we’re going to keep doing this, let’s talk, but I want an equal share. I want what I’ve deserved, what I’ve earned.”
“I’ve earned something… I’ve earned, I mean, who owns the company now? There’s people who have shares in the company, celebrities, Conan O’Brien owns the UFC now, so, where’s my share? Where’s my equity? I’m the one that’s banking this.”
Once UFC ownership opened to celebrities then McGregor’s claims became more viable. If the ownership had stayed strictly within WME-IMG or investment firms such as KKR then McGregor’s demands might be seen more as posturing.
The wrinkle that could make McGregor’s demand more problematic is that the UFC has to hit revenue goals for the ownership group to be paid tens of millions of dollars as bonuses. McGregor is the most valuable fighter in the UFC and his appearance on a PPV card has been a windfall of revenue for the company. If McGregor decides to hold out on fighting until he is given equity in the company, how will the ownership group respond?