UFC 211 on Saturday night in Dallas promises to be something special, but the headlines continue to be about the Irishman and a fight that is likely to never happen
On Saturday night, the UFC will offer what is possibly the most appropriate card in five months with two title fights including information with rising female whiz Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Its a lineup so good that last summertimes lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez isnt even on the prime card.
But often of the UFC news this weekend is less about the bouts at Dallass American Airlines Center and more about someone who hasnt campaign in more than five months. And there is nothing to say this quandary is going to end soon. Even as the UFC moves on exchanging Stipe Miocic v Junior Dos Santos as a headliner on Saturday the headlines continue to be about Conor McGregor and a fight that might never happen.
On Thursday, UFC president Dana White told radio host Jim Rome that he is setting a Sunday deadline for finishing peace negotiations with McGregor on a possible Mayweather fight before looking to work with Mayweathers congresswomen next week. His decree was a bigger transaction than anything that happened in the pre-fight dialogue in Dallas, save for Fridays announcement that Jon Jones is going to meet Daniel Cormier in July. Whatever McGregor does stands as the most difficult event going on with Whites UFC.
Perhaps a year ago it wasnt this practice. A years ago, McGregor was just coming off his non-title loss to Nate Diaz, monotonous his soaring virtuoso. There was also talk Ronda Rousey might return that summertime after her startling loss to Holly Holm and in many ways Rousey was always the UFCs most-compelling figure. But now, 12 months later, the UFC has been sold to corporate owners and White says he is certain Rouseys through after Amanda Nunes took her apart in UFC 207. This leaves McGregor as the organizations one great draw.
He has gotten bigger in his planned half-year hiatus and paternity leave. He tower greater than ever over the UFC, technically deeming both the UFCs lightweight and featherweight titles though hes since had to return the featherweight region after beating Alvarez for the lightweight entitle in November. No fighter might better understand their leverage better and he is well aware that his only shot at a $75 m- $100 m payday is to step into a boxing doughnut with Mayweather. Until he does that, the talk around the UFC will be McGregor even if McGregor continues to sit out.
Saturday night should be a revel of how deep the UFC continues. The Miocic-Dos Santos rematch is a pairing of two explosive hitters. Jedrzejczyk is a ferocious boxer who has overwhelmed her last-place various rivals. Alvarez remains a skilled boxer who merely wasnt a match for McGregor as few are.
But many of the UFC headlines at the end of this week are about Whites deadline and his confidence that he can pull together a McGregor-Mayweather fight .~ ATAGEND I will do the Mayweather-McGregor fight because I think he deserves it, White told CNN the coming week .~ ATAGEND On a weekend when all the narratives should be about a loaded card, they are about a proposed battle that White answers will realize zero cents for the UFC.
There isnt much he can do about this unless another great star comes along. Jones, the organizations once-great champ, is finally coming back from the year-long drugging suspension that devastated UFC 200. His engagements with Cormier are always good presentation. But after all of Joness problems in recent years “they dont have” certainty he will be the fighter he was once. Cris Cyborg has been cleared of a possible doping contravention and comprises promise of has become a agitating as Rousey had been. But will any of them have the elegance of McGregor and Rousey? Can they draw the same mainstream appeal? Can anyone?
For now, McGregor waits. He can afford to do this after taking four fights in 11 months and bearing the UFC to its massive auction before his sabbatical. Whatever he decides to do will have a huge impact on the rest of the organization. Every top male soldier within realistic interval of his weight class is longing for a shot at him, knowing the only real coin is in a McGregor fight. Diaz, for example, remains on the sidelines since his 20 August rematch loss to McGregor, scoffing at Whites volunteers of soldiers like Alvarez.
Call me with some real shit, Diaz recently told Ariel Helwanis The MMA Hour.
For now, Diaz must stand in line with everyone else craving for their McGregor chance as McGregor chases Mayweather money.
Meanwhile the UFC will put on a great see Saturday night.
Is anyone paying attention?
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