“It’s one of the dirtiest things you can do.”
On a night when Israel Adesanya added another chapter to his burgeoning UFC legacy and an Jan Blachowicz became light heavyweight champion, Dana White was fielding more Conor McGregor questions.
The UFC president covered a number of topics in his press conference in Abu Dhabi, following UFC 253, and dealt with the issue of McGregor sharing a direct message thread the pair had over a number of months.
On Friday, as he announced an upcoming bout with former world champion boxer Manny Pacquaio, McGregor was keen to show his followers how he had put himself forward for a number of MMA bouts. In doing so, he shared multiple back-and-forth DMs with White.
Asked about McGregor sharing what he intended to be private messages with the world, White was unequivocal:
“Listen, I’ve had people blowing me up left and right. Everybody here knows, even the ladies. This is some man code stuff, you know? It’s just something you don’t do. It’s one of the dirtiest things you can do.
“We were just talking about Diego Sanchez. And Diego Sanchez is in there, in a private conversation I was having with Conor. When you’re the No. 2 or 3 ranked guy in the world and you’re telling me you want to fight, but you want to fight unranked, 39-year-old Diego Sanchez in a main event in Los Angeles… you know.”
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 27, 2020
Sanchez, who is 38 and a former lightweight title contender, was fighting on the UFC 253 undercard but lost to Jake Matthews by unanimous decision.
The New Mexico veteran is as tough as they come but his career is most certainly on the wane. Since he fought BJ Penn for the 155lbs belt, back in 2009, he has won nine bouts and lost 11. Sanchez would love to see out his career with a pay-day fight against McGregor and the Dubliner has once again stated his interest in such a clash:
I am still interested in a fight with you somewhere down the line Diego Sanchez. A true warrior and pioneer of this sport. It would be my honour! Some journalists and promoters and their lack of respect for what the fighters put into this game make me sick.
Things must change!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 27, 2020
Earlier in the night Adesanya had soundly defeated Paulo Costa to successfully defend his middleweight strap, while Poland’s Blachowicz claimed the light heavyweight belt vacated by Jon Jones after beating Dominick Reyes.
White would have preferred to discuss the two champions’ performances, and next fights, in greater depth but he often must deal with queries about fighters that have not been active in a while, such as McGregor, Henry Cejudo and brothers Nate and Nick Diaz.
He told reporters that the next fight planned for Colby Covington – after his win over Tyron Woodley – would be against Jorge Masvidal.
On the potential of McGregor throwing down in a boxing ring with Pacquaio, White responded, “I have no idea.
“You guys have been asking me about Conor McGregor forever and… did you see Conor McGregor’s tweet [in June]? The retirement tweet – I’m retired. Birthday cake. I’m retired!”
McGregor and White have been extremely good for each other, ever since The Notorious made his UFC debut in 2013. At present, though, their relationship appears strained. Sharing someone’s private DMs will do that.