Sunday 22 April 2018

'He freaked out': Dana White talks McGregor's 'retirement' but expects his UFC return

Conor McGregor (Inset: Dana White)
Conor McGregor (Inset: Dana White) Newsdesk Newsdesk

UFC President Dana White has said there is a small chance Conor McGregor could still fight at UFC 200, but even if he does not, White thinks the Dubliner will return to the ring in 2016 and shelve his retirement plans.

Speaking to Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports 1, White claimed he and McGregor had a disagreement over the promotion of UFC 200, where the Irish fighter was due to take on Nate Diaz in a rematch of his UFC 196 defeat.

According to White, McGregor apparently wanted to move a promotional video shoot from April to May, and when White refused, the Notorious told him he wouldn't fly to Las Vegas to participate.

"He [Conor McGregor] freaked out about it," White said.

"Conor is a smart guy and a reasonable guy. It is weird."

When asked by the host if he thinks McGregor actually will retire, White said 'I don't' and when Cowherd followed that up by asking whether he expects him to return to the UFC octagon in 2016, White responded with 'I do'.

Conor McGregor. Photo: Getty Images
Conor McGregor. Photo: Getty Images

"If he [calls] me after this interview we'll possibly do it," White said, when asked whether there was any chance McGregor could still fight at UFC 200.

One rumour getting traction among MMA fans was that McGregor is holding out for more money after seeing his value to the UFC skyrocket over the last year, but White categorically denied that was the case.

"This is not a money issue," White said.

"This was never ever about money. Conor is happy with the money he makes. He has never come to me after we have negotiated a fight and asked for more."

White stressed that his relationship with his star attraction 'wasn't damaged at all' but that his decision to pull McGregor from the UFC 200 card was one he had to make.

"Everyone has to promote their fights," he said.

"Muhammad Ali did. Mike Tyson did. Everybody has to do it."

McGregor has yet to make a public statement since his initial 'retirement' tweet.

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