DANA WHITE SAYS ALVAREZ TO FACE MURMAGOMEDOV, NOT MCGREGOR
It just wouldn’t be a Conor McGregor fight if there wasn’t a tense contract negotiation to build it up.
The rumored and practically assumed main event for the UFC’s inaugural show in Madison Square Garden has been Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor in a fight for Alvarez’s 155 lb. title, but that may not be such a sure thing as the window for UFC to announce a main event before tickets go on sale gets smaller.
When asked on Twitter Monday night to confirm or deny the Alvarez vs. McGregor fight, White responded that it’s “not true” and that Alvarez will be fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov. He didn’t specify whether that fight was slated for UFC 205 or not, but Nurmagomedov did act as if he is planning on fighting Alvarez, stating that he and White are “just waiting for Eddie to sign,” in a Twitter post.
McGregor, known for driving a tough bargain with the UFC and also known for not liking being left out in the cold after a contract negotiation gone bad, left two words for his followers to stew over, “beg me.”
McGregor notably refused to attend a press conference promoting the on-sale for UFC 200 tickets and was consequently removed from the card. Shortly thereafter, he sent out a Tweet stating that he had resolved things with the UFC and was back on the card. That was never true and it took many weeks to negotiate a deal that saw McGregor finally fight on UFC 202.
UFC 205 takes place in New York City on Nov. 12, the promotion’s first show in the state. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale to the public on Sept. 30.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: They need a big fight for this card as they have anyway begun hyping the event as being a big deal and lots of work and money went into getting regulated in New York State. Conor is really their only option right now, so they really need to get a deal done. GSP is an outside possibility, but he would mean the most in this circumstance against McGregor and that would hurt UFC 206 in Toronto a month later.
Everything we’re seeing happen on Twitter is likely posturing from both sides. Dana White has no problem playing hardball publicly with his fighters and he’s also not afraid to outright lie to fans or media to keep a secret. I suspect we get an announcement soon, either on UFC Tonight or on Saturday’s Fight Night in FS1. The good news is McGregor sounds like he wants the fight and he should be motivated by the prospect of being the first simultaneous two-weight champion.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Cris Cyborg noted on Twitter today that she has to make 140 lbs. exactly for her catchweight bout with Lina Lansberg this Saturday. According to Cyborg, she will not be granted the 1 pound allowance that is typical for non-title fights
-Mickey Gall has challenged Sage North city to a “hair match” should they fight. The loser would have to shave his head. The fight had not yet been officially announced.
-Gian Villante is injured and has pulled out if his UFC 205 fight with Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
NOW CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S NEWS DIGEST: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/20: UFC’s new matchmaker, AXS TV developments, Ronda Rousey, Dana White, Nate Diaz (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)