UFC President Dana White’s superstar treatment of Conor McGregor hasn’t only drawn a lot of flak, it’s also set a dangerous precedent.
Remember when Frankie Edgar ranted about the “C” in UFC standing for Conor? Edgar was referring to McGregor’s apparent say in the match-making functions in the UFC. Like asking and getting a Lightweight title shot against RDA. And then getting a catchweight bout at 170 with Nate Diaz instead of defending his Featherweight title.
Do you also remember when Luke Rockhold “questioned” the wisdom of the UFC’s art department for placing Chris Weidman’s fist in between their faces in the poster of UFC 199?
What you guys think of the #ufc199 poster? The hand in the middle baffles me, needs to go.
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) March 25, 2016
Rockhold had a point but didn’t ask for a poster change. Nevertheless, Rockhold’s complaint ( if you call it that way) was made a month after McGregor asked to change the UFC 196 poster because it only showed RDA’s belt. According to McGregor, it should have also shown his belt: champion vs champion. Conor Mac got his wish and the poster was changed. Sadly, RDA never made it to the bout and neither will Weidman. But the precedent had been set: Fighters are getting involved even in the artwork.
So Dana White tried to control the situation. When McGregor refused to fly to Las Vegas to promote UFC 200, he “disciplined” his spoiled brat by taking him off the event. Sweet. But since then, the UFC has become a Conor McGregor starred drama. The standoff has led to Floyd Mayweather Jr. reportedly offering McGregor $50M for a New Year’s eve bout. At the same time, White and Lorenzo Fertitta met with McGregor at a Beverly Hills hotel earlier in the week to iron out the “speed bump” that slowed down the McGregor snowball. But just as when we thought that we would be hearing an official announcement of the Conor-Nate rematch for UFC 202, another speed bump has emerged. And it’s not from McGregor.
Nate Diaz has repeatedly said that White and the UFC haven’t given him enough credit for beating McGregor at UFC 196. So probably to show goodwill, White and Fertitta gave Nate the Conor treatment by flying to Stockton for a surprise visit. The Nate mural at the background was proof that the UFC bosses were in Stockton.
But the surprise visit didn’t turn out as expected. Reportedly, an upset White hurriedly left the meeting in his SUV. No confirmation from White about what actually transpired, but in a text message to ESPN, the UFC boss talked about “wasn’t a good day”. Let’s just post his tweet so we won’t quote him out of context:
Fucking media! Brett's post about Stockton makes it sound like I'm shitting on the place. Here's the text in context pic.twitter.com/7b1NXVpWpc
— Dana White (@danawhite) May 21, 2016
Whatever it was, they didn’t get the fight booked. Otherwise, we would’ve had reported about the announcement today. Sources say the parties couldn’t agree on money. But whether it was money or something else, Nate appears to be holding out. Knowing Nate, he’s going to talk about it in the coming days. Meanwhile, all we can do is speculate. One thing is clear here though, the Conor Treatment has backfired on Dana White and the UFC.