Tuesday 21 November 2017

£1000 for meet and greet, signed gloves and the chance to ask a question - An evening with Conor McGregor

Jack O'Toole

UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor will make his first public appearance since his 'Money Belt' title fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month.

McGregor will address the public for the first time at the SEC Armadillo in Glasgow on Friday night with the Dubliner set to sit down on stage for a live interview with UFC reporter Caroline Pearce.

Tickets for the event range from £45.40-£1,100 (€51.50-€1,248) with various packages available. Standard tickets for the event include access to a live interview with McGregor as well as a live auction, while VIP Gold Tickets include a photo meet and greet, floor seating and an 'excellent' view of the stage, for the price of £399 (€452).

For an extra £601 (€681) you will receive a signed pair UFC Conor McGregor gloves and the chance to ask Conor a question.

McGregor held a similar event in Manchester earlier this year where he was interviewed by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani in front of 1,000 black tie VIP diners, as well as 3,000 fans in stadium seating at EventCity in Trafford Park.

Fans who were unable to attend were also able to watch the interview online for the price of £3.99 (€4.53) per buy.

With McGregor’s personal net worth set to soar into the nine-digit range following the Mayweather fight, the next logical question is what’s next for the UFC champion?

A Nate Diaz trilogy fight in a return to the UFC is the bout that makes the most immediate sense for McGregor.

Their first two fights were split evenly, with Diaz handing McGregor the first defeat of his UFC career at UFC 196, before McGregor avenged that loss at UFC 202 five months later.

The two fights hold the number one and number two spots on the list of the UFC’s highest purchased pay-per-views of all time, with their bout at UFC 196 pulling in 1.317 million pay-per-view buys while their second fight at UFC 202 sold 1.65 million buys.

A trilogy fight could shatter both marks, especially if McGregor’s UFC Lightweight title is on the line, but there is a possibility that the Dubliner could look to renegotiate his contract with the UFC before stepping back into the octagon.

McGregor has four fights left on his current deal with the UFC but he insisted after his win over Eddie Alvarez last year that the UFC brass needed to come talk to him about an equity stake before he fights again in the promotion.

“No one has talked to me since the sale happened,” said McGregor following WME-IMG’s €3.54 billion purchase of the UFC last year.

“As a businessman, no one has approached (me yet), but I’ve earned something.

“Who owns the company now? There’s people who have shares in the company, celebrities — Conan O’Brien owns the UFC nowadays. So where’s my share? Where’s my equity?”

“If I’m the one that’s bringing this, they’ve got to come talk to me now. That’s all I know. I’ve got both belts, a chunk of money, and a little family on the way.

“If you want me to stick around, if you want me to keep doing what I’m doing, let’s talk. But I want ownership now. I want equal share. I want what I deserve.”

McGregor's representation and the UFC have been quiet on the issue but there’s an argument to be made that he deserves equity.

The average UFC pay-per-view receives 443,048 PPV buys. Since UFC 53, the last UFC pay-per-view event to sell less than 100,000 buys, that number has risen to 507,659 buys. McGregor fights average 1,223,400 buys.

A 2016 study by MMA journalist John Nash revealed that the average pay-per-view makes €16.85 million for the UFC. The average McGregor event makes €50.5 million for the UFC, with McGregor earning between €8-10 million for each fight.

Dave Meltzer, who has provided pay-per-view numbers for every UFC event from UFC 33 to UFC 207, said that he anticipates McGregor's future fights to pull anywhere from 2.4 million to 3.6 million buys, which would be five to six times the UFC average.

Alternatively, if he stays in boxing, McGregor can act as both the fighter and the promoter with the use of his promotional company McGregor Sports and Entertainment.

McGregor would then be able to negotiate splits with networks and distributors and demand a bigger cut of his own pie.

Or he could move into acting, with Guy Ritchie and Vin Diesel both offering him movie roles in the past.

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