UFC were reportedly set to announce massive Conor McGregor return fight before bus attack
What a complete mess.
The UFC held its 25th anniversary press conference at the Barclays Center on Friday night and was missing its biggest star. He was down the road at a Brooklyn court-house having his bail set for $50,000 after his sorry part in an attack on a bus carrying UFC fighters the day before.
Whatever Conor McGregor set out to achieve when he snuck into the loading bay of the Barclays Center, on Thursday, his aim was way off.
Attempting to send a message to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who will fight for his lightweight belt this weekend, McGregor and his colleagues succeeded only in smashing a couple of windows, costing two fighters of a place on the UFC 223 card and frightening a host of people, including elderly UFC employees and women.
McGregor was always due to be in New York to support his Straight Blast Gym stablemate Artem Lobov, who was competing on the UFC 223 undercard, but he showed up earlier than expect at the fight venue and with nefarious deeds in mind.
The Dubliner's actions not only landed him in legal trouble, they appear to have cost him a new UFC contract and another title shot. UFC president Dana White told ESPN:
"We were actually working on a deal and a new plan for him."
According to MMA Fighting, that new plan involved announcing McGregor's next fight at the 25th anniversary press conference. His return was supposed to be the marquee announcement but the promotion was left pushing TJ Dillashaw's bantamweight title defence with Cody Garbrandt, the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormer 'superfight' and Rafael Dos Anjos taking on Colby Covington in Chicago at UFC 225.
Crazily, the UFC had actually looked into two fight scenarios for 'The Notorious':
- Pulling Khabib Nurmagomedov from UFC 223 and announcing a fight against McGregor for later this year.
- McGregor and Dos Anjos fighting for the interim UFC welterweight belt this summer
McGregor and Dos Anjos were supposed to fight for the lightweight belt [at UFC 196] back in early 2016 before the Brazilian injured his foot and Nate Diaz stepped in. 'RDA' is now doing well for himself in the 170lbs division and will fight Covington for the inerim strap while champion Tyron Woodley recovers from an injury of his own.
The promotion had ultimately settled on the idea of McGregor taking on the winner of Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway [before the Hawaiian was declared 'medically unfit to fight] later this year.
Events that transpired in the Barclays Center loading bay scuppered those plans and it remains to be seen when, or if, the 29-year-old will fight again. White told reporters, on Friday, that he will sit down next week to consider the future of the biggest name in MMA.