ESPN was the recipient of a one-on-one interview where McGregor discusses his feud with Dana White and the UFC, a possible fight with Mayweather, and his return to the UFC.
McGregor argues that the UFC had unreasonable expectations of media responsibilities and McGregor pushed back saying that he needed to focus on training but would only do a “reasonable” amount of media.
On his complaint with the UFC:
That’s how it all came about. I just wanted to focus and I was deep in the process, and especially at that particular moment, I just wanted a little bit more time. I didn’t shut it off completely. Reasonable media, is what I said. I said I would do New York. I said I would do everything else after that. I just needed another little bit to set myself, and then the lack of communication, they weren’t having it. They were trying to push back on me, I was trying to push back on them, and look, it blew up then.
On his retirement:
I’ll tell you what, it blew up. I was just kind of having fun at the start. It was kind of half-hearted, and then it just went [crazy], and now all of a sudden you’re off UFC 200, and I was like, ‘alright, well f*ck you too then.’ It was fun. Seeing it all blow up like that, it was amusing for a while.
There were times when I was … seeing the press conferences take place, and I was like, ah, I should’ve just jumped on the damn flight. I should’ve just stuck it out and went with it. But sometimes you’ve gotta do what’s right for you, and not do what’s right for everybody else – and especially if you’ve done what’s right for everybody else a million times over, you should have the right to be able to do what’s right for you sometimes. That’s what I felt.
The dispute overmedia obligations has already been identified as the central issue. Dana White at the UFC 200 press conference that McGregor didn’t show up for said that commitments such as attending the press conference, creating assets for promotional purposes, and getting footage for the commercial is necessary for a fighter to participate on the fight card.
There is a gap between the few responsibilities that Dana White listed and the “unreasonable” obligations McGregor said that needed to happen that would have put him on a plane for 40 hours and doing tens of interviews that he didn’t feel were necessary.
I would expect that contracts have specific language about a fighter’s obligations to promote the fight and meet media requirements. If the language is ambiguous it will be very explicit in the immediate future.
McGregor said that Mayweather needs him more than he needs Mayweather, which many in the fight game can agree is ludicrous but is in line with his branding and I’m sure he 100% believes it.
McGregor and the UFC still seem to be at odds and now the UFC seems to be having trouble scheduling anything with the fighter that submitted Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz. Time will tell if Conor McGregor can get out of fight purgatory and if a rematch even happens.