Is Banking £1.5Million Per Second Enough To Keep Conor McGregor In The UFC?

'The Notorious' earned more than a million a second during his UFC 246 win over Donald Cerrone
11:09, 20 Jan 2020

Find someone who looks at you the same way Dana White looks at Conor McGregor.

Dana needs Conor. He needs the warrior who hadn't won a fight for three years, the street fighter who punched an unsuspecting punter in a Dublin bar, the volatile whisky salesman widely uncomfortable with his sudden millionaire status. Because no matter what, when Conor McGregor talks, the world stops to listen. But not for ever. Even the most rabid of McGregor supporters need to see the occasional win to justify the red-eye to Vegas and for just a moment there, it looked as if those days were gone. And then, on Saturday night, at the end of a few nose-shattering seconds, Conor McGregor, the guaranteed UFC money-making machine, was back.    

In the very familiar setting of Las Vegas, it took the Irishman less than 40 seconds to remind onlookers why the preceding decade was stratospheric for the MMA star, with McGregor adhering to his 'Mystic Mac' prediction of a TKO with the fight stopped when Cerrone was unable to respond to the flurry of blows 'the Notorious' was controllably dealing to his skull.

McGregor’s first professional win in three years, it was ultimately an eye-blistering money-maker to kick-off a 2020 that promises a flurry of such ilk.

The UFC 246 headline act provided a £3.6m prize purse for the victor. However, McGregor’s overall pay-day is far, far greater, providing a further glimpse of how truly valuable he is to the organization and to UFC President Dana White, despite the fighter’s outside-ring controversies and observed decline in sporting prowess.

"It's going to be a good paycheque,” McGregor had told ESPN in the pre-fight build-up, "Probably the most ever in my mixed martial arts career... I'm estimating a good £60m. We have Australia, Canada and England and Ireland... it should be a good one. [I made] £38.5m [against Khabib Nurgamedov in 2018]. They think I'm toast but I'm still the bread."

So the Mac is back, earning around £1.5million a second for that fight, but fundamentally - back where? It’s obvious that his controversies haven’t disguised McGregor to remain the jewel in Dana White’s crown.

Rumours of a blockbuster rematch with Khabib Nurgamedov, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, have of course reignited furiously. Don’t, however, expect a fight before at least half of the year is out. 

Khabib Nurgamedov’s next opponent is the American Tony Ferguson on April 18. 

It was somewhat ironic that McGregor’s admission that he had been drinking too much ahead of facing Nurmagomedov retrospectively chimes so awkwardly with his goading of the Russian to drink his Proper 12 whiskey brand ahead of UFC 229. Khabib refrains from consuming alcohol in his Islamic conformity. Nurgagomedov - who wrestled bear cubs as a child - is undefeated after 28 bouts.

Though White seemingly retains those Scrooge McDuck aspirations that Khabib v Conor Part II would undoubtedly bring, a more realistic prospect would be McGregor versus Jorge Masvidal, what a cynic may describe as the warm-up act before the main show, and something that White wasn’t most enthused about as McGregor revelled in his victory over Cerrone:

White described Khabib v McGregor as “a massive fight with global appeal. This is the fight to make. Masvidal doesn't have a world championship... Khabib is the fight to make.”

Then there has been talk of the mooted Mayweather reunion.

When asked by ESPN's Ariel Helwani whether he is interested in another boxing match, a regurgitation of the sporting event of 2017, McGregor responded confidently: “Most certainly. I’d like to rematch Floyd [Mayweather]. I think we should. He’s flirting with it. He can go and pick someone else but it’s not going to be the same. I done [sic] phenomenal in that bout. I know I’d beat Floyd if we rematched...and when we rematch.”

One of Mayweather’s many nicknames is ‘Money,' and he was the highest-earning sports star of the 2010s, bringing in an estimated $915million - with $500million coming from just two fights (to McGregor and Manny Pacquiao). 

The 42-year-old added fuel to the claims that the boxer and cage-fighter could do battle once again when he uploaded two fight posters to his Instagram account following the Irishman's win against Cerrone; one showing a bout between Mayweather and McGregor scheduled for 2020 and another between Floyd and Khabib - also scheduled in for 2020.

These posters, of course, mean very little but it does show that Floyd is very keen to crossover once again with Conor and even Khabib at some point this year.

With the future vague, it seems the only thing clear is that McGregor and White’s will and desire to challenge for Mayweather's 'Money' title is obvious.


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