Friday 19 January 2018

More megabucks in Big Apple could be on horizon for 'Notorious'

Conor McGregor shows off his UFC featherweight title belt
Conor McGregor shows off his UFC featherweight title belt

Joe Callaghan

Fresh from raking in potentially half-a-million dollars per second in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Conor McGregor could be ready to take an even bigger bite out of the Big Apple.

The Dubliner enjoyed his crowning moment with an astonishing 13-second demolition of the UFC's pound-for-pound king Jose Aldo Junior at the MGM Grand, securing the undisputed featherweight title in the process.

It was a record-breaking night across the boards for 'Notorious' McGregor, who confirmed his status as the most marketable man in combat sports.

His KO triumph over an opponent who hadn't been beaten in a decade was the quickest in UFC history.

But there was plenty more to toast.

The $10.1m gate was a record for the UFC in Las Vegas, while pay-per-view figures were reported to be well to be on track to shatter all-time marks.

With McGregor's stunning KO earning him fight-night bonuses on top of his cut of the PPV revenue and his huge base fee, his total UFC 194 pay day was rumoured to potentially reach $5-6million, or somewhere around $425,000 per second.

The nature of this transcendent triumph means McGregor is very much in control of his next step, likely to be even more lucrative.

While a long-hyped Croke Park extravaganza remains an outside possibility, the prospect of the 27-year-old leading the UFC's charge into New York is also a live one.

The sport's chiefs are waiting for final clearance to confirm a show in the city, with the sport yet to be declared legal there after years of wrangling.

But they have tentatively scheduled April 23 as a date for the historic inaugural card.

While big-name options abound for the UFC, having McGregor headline the card would ensure maximum exposure.

Leading featherweight contender Frankie Edgar, a New Jersey native, yesterday suggested that if he is to meet McGregor next, the fight should be scheduled for the Empire State.

McGregor is open to all possibilities. "The options are there now," he said in the wake of his stunning triumph.

"Frankie had a good win (over Chad Mendes on Friday), that could be for the featherweight belt. Maybe the Jose rematch or maybe the 155lb (lightweight) strap. Options are a good thing in the fight game."

The latter option would be a move up a division but McGregor insisted he wouldn't relinquish his featherweight title to do so.

"I am looking to replicate what I did in my previous promotion, two-weight world champion, held consecutively. I said I would do it, and I'll do it," added McGregor, who now has his eyes on matching the biggest sporting paydays.

"What did Mayweather-Pacquiao do? $72 million. That's [the aim]. I'm catching up [with Mayweather] I'm only 27, those motherf***ers were 40. I'm only warming up.

"If they offer me Croke Park, or if they offer me the football [Aviva] stadium, you're damn right I'm gonna take it.

"Maybe I can [demand it] these days. But I'm gonna sit back in the shadows for Christmas and plot. Then I'll come back."

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