TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/29: McGregor’s coach speaks out against idea that Conor “relinquished” Featherweight Title (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Conor McGregor (photo credit Gary A. Vasquez © USA Today Sports)


While Conor McGregor may have “relinquished” his Featherweight Championship according to the UFC, his coach feels that McGregor had very little to do with the decision and isn’t thrilled with it.

In an appearance on the Red FM breakfast show, John Kavanagh said he was “very disappointed” with how UFC went about stripping McGregor of his 145 pound title. He places most of the blame on the need for a new main event for UFC 206 on Dec. 10.

“They felt they had to make (Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway) for a title in order for it to sell, so they brought in another interim title that Jose Aldo already has and then bumped Jose Aldo up to the current undisputed champion, which just seems ridiculous to me.”

Kavanagh went on to suggest that McGregor would have defended his title had he not been stripped and been given the time. “It has only been 11 months since he won that title,” he said. “There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it.”

UFC may have gained a new main event for UFC 206 but they have cost themselves future bigger main events in order to get it.

conorpollMMATorch readers are mostly against how UFC handled this situation, but the degree to which they think UFC made a bad decision is less of a consensus. Thirty-seven percent give UFC an A or B grade for how they handled it, 16 percent a C grade, ad nearly half – 48 percent – a D or an F. You can still vote HERE.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: Holloway vs. Pettis is a big stretch as a pay-per-view main event and an equally large stretch as a Featherweight Championship fight. It’s at best a no. 1 contender match-up. If McGregor was willing to go down to 145 and defend his title in the next 12 months, they really cost themselves some potential money fights and have likely lost some goodwill with McGregor. They were in a bad position with not a lot of options for a new main event for UFC 206, but they bungled the GSP negotiations and overloaded UFC 205 so this is what you get sometimes. They may have been better off to cut their losses and make UFC 206 a free show on FS1 rather than try to sell fans on a so-called Interim Championship.


-A piece in the Sports Business Journal details UFC’s goal of increasing TV rights fees to $450 million a year from the current $115 million. UFC’s current deal with Fox is open for renegotiation late next year. UFC will look to sell a package to bidders that would include four broadcast events, six cable-exclusive events, weekly shoulder programming, and a stake in UFC Fight Pass.

-Lawyer Lucas Middlebrook and UFC fighter Leslie Smith are leaving the Professional Fighters Association group due to frustration over details of talks leaking to the media and the inclusion of fighter agents in the process. (SOURCE)

-The Ontario Athletic Commission hasn’t received a bout agreement for Kelvin Gastelum, who UFC says will fight Tim Kennedy at UFC 206. Gastelum is currently under suspension by the New York Commission and Ontario says they intend to honor other commission suspensions. (SOURCE)

-Eric Shelton shared on his Instagram that he will be fighting Alexandre Pantoja at the TUF 24 finale this weekend.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/28: Mysterious conference call scheduled for Wednesday with George St. Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Cerrone, others (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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