FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/8: McGregor-Cerrone fight apparently dead, Jacare-Romero II booked for UFC Fort Lauderdale, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Conor McGregor (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

No go

It looks like the prospect of a Conor McGregor-Donald Cerrone fight that was starting to build some steam has come to a halt. According to UFC president Dana White, the fight won’t be happening.

“The fight just didn’t happen,” White told “What Conor really wants is to fight Khabib. Let him figure out what’s next, but in the meanwhile, (Cerrone) was in my office yesterday. He wants to fight.”

Meanwhile, Cerrone is saying that the reason negotiations fell apart is that UFC wanted to put the fight underneath another main event and McGregor wasn’t having it.

“Conor won’t fight unless it’s a main event,” Cerrone said. “I don’t know if it’s an ego thing or a status thing for him. I don’t give a s—. I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, and I stand by that all the time. I guess he’s a prima donna and only takes main event spots. I don’t know.”

It would be surprising if UFC was seriously considering such a move as McGregor has fought in main events above other title fights before, breaking from previous UFC precedent. His UFC 189 interim title fight with Chad Mendes went on last, as did his UFC 196 non-title fight with Nate Diaz.

White told ESPN that they are looking at other options for Cerrone including Al Iaquinta. As for McGregor, according to White, he is focused on a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Jacare in for Costa

Paulo Costa is out of his planned UFC Fort Lauderdale main event with Yoel Romero and will be replaced by Jacare Souza. The show is scheduled for April 27 to air on ESPN.

It does not appear that Costa is injured and the new fight is instead being described by ESPN as a “change of course.”

Souza and Romero fought once before at UFC 194. Romero won a razor close split-decision that many felt went the other way. Since then, Romero went on to fight for both the interim-middleweight and middleweight championships but missed weight both times.

Souza most recently defeated Chris Weidman by TKO at UFC 230 in New York City.

Friday Notebook

-Frank Mir told a Russian website that he is considering a lawsuit against USADA. “I’ve lost millions,” Mir said. “I had six more fights on a contract that paid me well. If you have noticed, my last fight, I didn’t even have sponsors. It’s difficult right now to rebuild up everything because of having to battle back from being falsely accused of something. It makes things difficult.”

MMAJunkie is reporting that a Florida woman filed a restraining order against Anthony Johnson last August. According to Johnson’s lawyer, “He’s saying ‘I’m going to go get my gun’, and her interpretation was (the message was) aimed at her,” Saul said. “His position was somebody on social media was stalking him, and he was saying it in reference to the person bothering him and not her. That’s his position, and also I believe he may have posted a picture of her performing something intimate on him. But it all had to do with social media postings.”

-Paige VanZant will be part of Sports Illustrated’s upcoming swimsuit issue.

-Former boxer Paulie Malignaggi has signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. The promotion is already discussing a potential matchup with Conor McGregor teammate Artem Lobov.

Fight Announcements

-Shawn Bunch vs. Dominic Mazzotta and David Rickels vs. AJ Matthews are booked for Bellator 219 on March 29.

-Aspen Ladd vs. Sijara Eubanks is set for UFC Rochester on May 18.

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