By now just about everyone over the age of 15 knows about Conor McGregor and the fiasco of events that took place earlier this month. Just in case you’ve been asleep since the first week of April let’s refresh:
During fight week in New York prior to UFC 223, April 7th, Khabib Nurmagomedov and members of his team “cornered” longtime McGregor friend & training partner Artem Lobov and apparently “threatened” him to the point that he felt the need to call Conor over in Ireland and convey his concerns. What happened next could be described as an overreaction of epic proportions.
The Irish superstar corralled his 20 favorite henchmen, loaded up the posse aboard his private jet and made a middle of the night trek across the Atlantic to “settle the score” with Nurmagomedov and his team.
Upon arrival to the Big Apple, the McGregor cartel made a beeline for the Barclays Center, where the UFC and its stars were holding a media event. Once at the arena, they headed down to the garage area, snuck in, and as Nurmagomedov and his team were loaded on a shuttle bus, Mystic Mac went full demolition man on the bus as he heaved a dolly through the window! In the process, fellow fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were injured and unable to compete at the event. UFC executive Reed Harris also reportedly suffered an injury. Oh yeah, Team Nurmagomedov? Still laughing…
The incident resulted in McGregor’s arrest for two felonies and several misdemeanor charges. Before the videos of the mad Irishman could surface on TMZ and/or social media, UFC President Dana White took to the cameras to tell any and everyone who would listen how “disgusted” he was with McGregor. White went as far as to say, “This is by far the worst thing that’s ever happened in the UFC.”
Almost as fast were the reports of how McGregor and his UFC career was over following this debacle. “Don’t be surprised if McGregor is done” read more than one headline. The organization must do something, right? Umm. Well no.
It’s simple really, Conor McGregor is the UFC. You think I’m exaggerating? Let’s look at the numbers:
4 PPV buys headlined by McGregor = 5.4M plus buys/Avg of 1.35M per event. (These numbers don’t include the 4.4M buys McGregor had when he faced Superstar Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match in August 2017.)
17 other PPV events in that time = 6.7M buys/Avg of 394K per event. (These numbers do not include UFC 223 on April 7th.)
In those 17 other events stars such as Ronda Rousey and Georges St. Pierre headlined one event each and are responsible for 2M of the 6.7M, so if you remove them McGregor has literally outsold the entire organization! And people think he’s getting kicked out? Nah… They imply can’t afford it as an organization, especially with Rousey gone to the WWE and St. Pierre once again hibernating in Canada.
Another rumor making the rounds on social media and such is that the whole “Bus Bashing at the Barclays” fiasco was planned. Part of the promotion?
Of course, that’s been vehemently denied by White and others involved but interestingly enough UFC 223 did record numbers in regard to the gate for any event at the Barclays Center.
This comes after the event seemed destined to flop due to two different changes to the main event within the last week, including the final change coming in the last 36 hours. While that’s not proof that it was “promotion”, it is enough to fuel the speculation for quite a while.
What happens from here for McGregor regarding his legal issues in New York is in the hands of attorneys and judges, so we’ll have to wait and see. However, what happens to Conor and his future in the UFC is in the hands of Dana White, and as long as McGregor generates the type of numbers he has in the past, he’s not going anywhere, that is one thing you can almost certainly count on.
Chris covers MMA for The Grueling Truth and is the Lead Journalist & Editor-in-Chief of 3KingsBoxing.com as well as co-host of the 4CBT show Blogtalkradio.com/4cornersboxingtalk
Link to list of PPV buys