Prior to UFC 194, the UFC had discussed the potential for Conor McGregor to defend the UFC Featherweight Championship at Croke Park, a stadium in his native Ireland, should he defeat Jose Aldo. Now that he’s accomplished that, Croke Park was a point of discussion on Saturday night, but it may not happen in 2016.
In an interview with ESPN.com after the card, UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta said they’d love to run that stadium for the records they could break, but there remain a number of issues hampering them in trying to get that together.
“There always seems to be controversy when it comes to Croke Park,” Fertitta said. “I want to do Croke Park, but the fact of the matter is there are a lot of hurdles that would have to be cleared. It has to be the right time. It can’t be in the middle of winter in Dublin. OK, will there be an opportunity in June, July or August? Will it be available? Third, we have to get the permits, and fourth, it would have to be a [pay-per-view] that would happen in the afternoon here in the U.S. due to the time difference. So, the stars have to align.
“If we could schedule it now, we’d be all-in. Who doesn’t want to do an event with 100,000 people? We’re all about breaking records.”
Penick’s Analysis: McGregor’s not going to wind up in Croke Park unless the UFC runs there in the fall. Considering he wants to be a fighting champion in multiple weight classes, necessitating numerous fights during the year, I think he may wind up fighting again in March or April, or just holding out until either Memorial Day weekend or UFC 200. From there, there are going to be more options depending on how quick of a turnaround there is. If McGregor were to fight Memorial Day weekend and don’t keep him available for UFC 200, they could run Croke Park potentially in August if they get an opening. If they want him to fight on UFC 200, he’ll be looking at a later fall date, and then it could wind up most anywhere. That said, with the type of money he’ll be garnering, I think he’ll be fighting a whole lot in Las Vegas.
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin Oncea via USA Today Sports]