The UFC has finally revealed the location of ‘Fight Island.’ It’s not exactly what people were expecting. Yas Island is in Abu Dhabi and will hold UFC 251 on July 11. Then Kamaru Usman will finally defend his title after more than a year, against the very active Gilbert Burns.
However, the UFC has had a lot of drama over the past couple of weeks. Four high-profile fighters have engaged in contract disputes. First of all, former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo vacated the 135lb belt and retired because he wanted more money. Then Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal had loud spats with the promotion.
Finally, Conor McGregor announced his retirement – albeit for the third time. In short, the UFC has messed him about too much. At least that’s what he says. However, UFC President Dana White has a vastly different perspective. He appeared on ESPN’s First Take and explained their side of the story.
White explained that McGregor rejected the opportunity to replace Khabib Nurmagamedov at UFC 249. Instead, Justin Gaethje fought Tony Ferguson for the interim title. To sum up, he says that the Irishman didn’t want to be a replacement fighter.
“He wants to fight Gaethje. Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib,” White explained. “He just beat Tony Ferguson. Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out.
“He came back and said ‘I’m not a replacement fighter, I’m not going to do it.’ He would be in that position now if he took the fight. He didn’t, Gaethje did so Gaethje gets it.”
However, in McGregor’s defense, the United States has a travel ban on Europe right now because of the current health crisis. The UFC has only just sorted out its ‘Fight Island’ now, so time will tell just how true his allegations are. Or McGregor’s twitter will. Anyway, White continued:
“Conor McGregor is frustrated right now because I mean look what’s going on. Look at what we’re pulling off. We’re literally just going to Yas Island right now to pull off these fights because the hardest thing to do right now is to get people into the country from other parts of the world. We are a true global business. We’re the only one pulling off live sports right now. If I continue to do fights in the United States, I’m going to burn out all my American talent.
“Now we got Yas Island ready to go, it’s set up. This is just a matter of Conor being frustrated I think in that he can’t get what he wants right now. It’s just not possible.”
In McGregor’s own words, the situation was different. To sum up, he believes that the UFC was trying to mess him about too much. Finally, he lost patience. He retired because he wanted to show his own power and the UFC needs him more than he needs them. It was a decisive move.
The Notorious doesn’t need to fight because he has enough capital in the bank as well as several other profitable business ventures. Furthermore, if he withdraws from the USADA testing pool – a move which he hasn’t taken yet – then he could move freely into boxing under the Ali Act.
“I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out,” McGregor told ESPN. “Obviously the world has gone bleeding bonkers at the minute. There’s f**k all happening at the minute. They want to throw me up and down weights and offer me stupid fights. I don’t really give a f**k. I’m over it.”