Conor McGregor’s coach explains why they couldn’t go to Las Vegas yet, “51% optimistic” McGregor remains on UFC 200

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh continues to address the UFC 200 situation, both in a column penned at Irish site, and an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

For starters, Kavanagh explained why they believed the UFC’s demand to come into Las Vegas from Iceland was unreasonable at this juncture.

“Shortly after we arrived in Portugal a couple of weeks ago for some training, we learned that the UFC wanted Conor to be in Vegas this past Friday for a press conference. Having put a meticulous plan in place for Conor’s preparations for the fight, this didn’t suit us at all,” Kavanagh wrote. “Negotiations to get Conor out of the press conference then began, because we had just started the first of three important cycles of training. Going over to Vegas would have completely destroyed that.

“Do you want to see Conor’s best performances or hear his best soundbites? Conor has saved a couple of big pay-per-view cards in the past by unconditionally accepting late-notice opponent changes, so we thought he had earned some leeway as a result. But apparently not.

“For Conor, even one day of press stuff in Las Vegas means he loses several days of training,” he continued. “Then you’re also dealing with readjusting to the time zones. It’s not quite as simple as sitting on a stage and answering questions for half an hour. It messes you up and it becomes impossible to maintain any sort of routine. In the last year, Conor has probably clocked up more air miles than everyone else on that stage combined. He offered to do a press conference in New York instead, which would be halfway for both him and Diaz. It’s a six-hour flight, you could do it in a weekend. But that was rejected by the UFC. It was all or nothing. Conor went with nothing.”

Kavanagh further argued that they were planning to move to Los Angeles five weeks out from the event, and believed any major media could have been handled during that time.

“The way the world is now, you don’t have to be physically at places to be involved in things,” Kavanagh told Helwani. … “I don’t know what this obsession is with Vegas. UFC is a global sport, not a Vegas sport. I don’t see why everything has to be done there.

He also believes it’s not necessarily out of the question for McGregor to still wind up on UFC 200, and he hopes the UFC comes to their senses.

“I’m 51 percent optimistic and 49 percent pessimistic, if you want to know my feelings on it,” he said. “At some stage you’ve gotta see that maybe it’s pointless to upset so many fans that want to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that are gonna be brought in. Is there anyone in the MMA world that didn’t want to see that fight? Was there the need to spend $10 million on that ad? … It seems to be swinging the right way and we’re aiming and we’re training for 200. We’re hoping for good news.

“…I don’t think we’ve gone past any point of no return. There’s mutual respect from both parties. Dana and Lorenzo and those guys are sensible businessmen. This is just one of those things. I have no doubt that we’ll continue with the tradition for his next fight. Lorenzo will bring in his bottle of Midleton [whiskey] and we’ll do our usual toast and we’ll carry on.”

Penick’s Analysis: Once again, this is not unreasonable on their part. No other fighter who appeared on the stage Friday was under the same circumstances as McGregor, and even in the case of someone like Joanna Jedrzejczyk coming in from Poland, she’s been out of action for much longer, and is facing an opponent she’s already defeated. McGregor’s trying to figure out how to beat the first man to take him out inside the Octagon, and had a lengthy camp in place in order to do so. I don’t think they’re wrong in asking for the leeway they’ve sought. McGregor belongs on the UFC 200 card. Let’s see if they come around.

Attention iPhone/iPad and Android users, if you’ve enjoyed our app in the past and followed us there, or if you’ve never checked it out, make sure to update to the latest version in the Apple store and/or Google Play store. We’ve launched a new look for the app, in line with our recent desktop overhaul. Make sure to check it out!

For current App users, swipe right to view next article, swipe left to view previous article.

1 Comment on Conor McGregor’s coach explains why they couldn’t go to Las Vegas yet, “51% optimistic” McGregor remains on UFC 200

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.