UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor has not stated whether his next fight will be a MMA match or a boxing match, but before he does another fight in the UFC he demands to be a co-promoter. At the debut of his biopic, McGregor was asked about his next fight. He said that Tony Ferguson was a likely opponent in the UFC but also that a few boxing matches were possible and that discussions were open.
Conor McGregor said:
“I was promoter on the Mayweather fight, and we’re in current negotiations… I ain’t stepping in that octagon again unless I’m part owner of the whole setup – I’m a promoter.”
“We’re in the contract negotiation stage. It’s got to, they’ve got to entice me now because, I came from a billion-dollar fight. I want equity, I want pay-per-view. I want to be a true partner. You have to entice me now. I want to be a partner. I want to be a promoter and I want to be a fighter for me to continue.”
Conor McGregor has asked for part ownership in the UFC before. When the UFC was first sold to WME-IMG he wondered why he was excluded from any ownership in the company while WME-IMG sold off shares to celebrities in other sports and entertainment, like Tom Brady.
McGregor was technically a co-promoter in his fight against Mayweather but Zuffa later was legally required to be listed as a promoter in the fight so that they could pay Conor McGregor.
Dana White responded saying:
Dana White basically says that Conor McGregor is such an international draw that they are going to make some exceptions for him. White also says that Conor McGregor is easy to do deals with and is also a huge asset to the company because he is willing to fight anyone at nearly any time.
I don’t think in an ideal world that the UFC would ever have a co-promoter because they don’t want to put any other company on par with the UFC. The UFC has placed a lot of emphasis, especially since Zuffa first bought the company, about establishing the UFC brand. The UFC is nearly synonymous with MMA but acts more as the NFL. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that one of his responsibilities is to “protect the shield” and the previous owners, with White, defended the UFC passionately.
The UFC has made exceptions for Conor McGregor before. In the past the UFC hasn’t let fighters compete outside of the UFC in other sports but they let McGregor fight Mayweather. McGregor made a lot of money for himself, WME-IMG, and also did a lot of promoting for the UFC. The UFC had a rule against fighters holding belts in two different weight classes. Conor McGregor won the UFC Lightweight Championship while simultaneously holding the UFC Featherweight Championship.
Part of me is wondering if the UFC is killing the golden goose by giving so much power to McGregor. It is unlikely, but certainly possible, that the UFC is giving Conor McGregor what he wants because now McGregor knows how much money he could be making boxing or fighting as an independent MMA fighter and running his own shows, taking fighters from other MMA promotional companies. The UFC has been behind in revenue goals for the last year and I hope that the short term money they’re chasing now, which remind me of some of the mistakes boxing made in its decline, don’t hurt the long-term success of the UFC.