Off the Ball: All kinds of everything for McGregor - but Dana calls shots
I spent the past three weeks in South America and still couldn't avoid the Conor McGregor mania. Yes, I should have avoided my phone but all hostels and even some buses in Peru and Bolivia have Wi-Fi now so it's impossible to escape.
It's pretty obvious now that McGregor made a huge mistake in refusing to show up to the UFC200 press conference. He thought he was untouchable and has now ended up looking silly, even resorting to desperate tweets reporting that he's back on the card.
He tweeted the day of the press conference "Everyone flew in. Respect. But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months." Yes Conor, that's EXACTLY why the UFC wanted you to turn up.
Without Conor's ability to trash-talk and hype his fights, and obviously back it up, he would be just another very good fighter in the UFC. There are lots of very good fighters in the UFC whose fights don't sell well.
While McGregor is probably correct in admitting he got lost in the promotion game he chose the wrong press conference to make his point. UFC200 is a massive anniversary and he already got his way with choosing his opponent not many agreed with - a rematch with Nate Diaz - so why take on the UFC three months out from the fight?
Former lightweight champion Anthony Petis told MMA journalist Ariel Helwani last week that a few days off that far from the fight would make no difference to preparation.
It's an expensive slap on the wrists for the UFC too which shows how annoyed they must have been with McGregor calling the shots regarding his media duties. As UFC president Dana White said, promoting the fights is mandatory. Darren Rovell, writing in ESPN, estimated that UFC are due to lose out on circa $45m with McGregor off the card.
I'm sure Conor and his team will learn a valuable lesson from this - Dana is the boss.