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Conor McGregor: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”

Matthew Wells

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No stranger to expressing his love for hip hop music with a signature mix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” as his walkout music, “The Notorious One” quoted a lyric from Jay-Z at conclusion of Episode 4 of UFC 196 Embedded:

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”

The lyrics left a lasting image as the punctuation mark on Jay-Z’s verse in Kanye West’s Diamonds From Sierra Leone, but also aptly describe Conor McGregor’s approach to his mixed martial arts career and his relationship with UFC brass. The lyrics imply that as a businessman, one is simply taking part in the corporate rat race to keep the machine running, whereas the second part of the lyric extends beyond just another worker by taking ownership of the business itself and creating your own brand name.

As this relates to Conor, he has shown he has become much more than just another fighter on the UFC roster. He’s created his own unique brand by exuding confidence and carrying the torch for Ireland while also seeing himself as a business colleague with UFC President Dana White. McGregor explicitly expressed those thoughts at the UFC 196 Press Conference by stating,

“It should be Dana’s podium, my podium, and then this little thing going on over here. I am neck and neck. I bring a hell of a lot to the table. We have a great (business) relationship, but we are neck and neck, eye to eye, creating these historical events.”

While Dana doesn’t explicitly acknowledge a peer-to-peer partnership, he chuckled when saying, “It’s hard to say no to Conor these days.”

McGregor certainly seems to call the shots to some degree at this stage in his career. Once Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of their scheduled matchup two weeks ago, the Featherweight Champion seemingly hand-picked Nate Diaz from the list of fighters clamoring for their shot at a headlining bout. “Tell him to get comfortable,” was the message McGregor gave Dana White after back-and-forth negotiations with Diaz regarding which weight class the fight would take place. “Get comfortable” meant fighting at 170 pounds, which is two weight classes higher than all of McGregor’s previous UFC bouts.

If Conor McGregor emerges victorious at UFC 196 this Saturday, will we see another instance of Conor flexing his business muscles as he delivers another solo post-fight press conference featuring only himself at the podium, announcing record-breaking financials,  a la UFC 194?

If Nate Diaz has anything to say about it, that will be the last thing to occur on Saturday night.

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Conor McGregor

Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture

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When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.

Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”

White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”

Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.

The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.

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Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219

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On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.

“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.  “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox.  My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.

Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia. 

 

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Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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