It was known well before Conor McGregor ever set foot in the Octagon on Sunday night that if he defeated Dennis Siver, he would next face UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a battle for the belt.
There had been a lot of speculation that such a fight might take place at the 90,000-plus-seat Croke Park in Dublin were it to happen. Now that McGregor has earned the shot at Aldo, his vision of fighting at Croke Park has vanished.
UFC president Dana White on Sunday night put to rest the idea that McGregor might challenge for the belt in front of the largest UFC audience ever and that being on his home turf. The fight has instead been penciled in for UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas.
“We’re looking at May in Vegas (for Aldo vs. McGregor),” said White at the UFC Fight Night 59 post-fight press conference.
“There’s a lot of obstacles for Croke Park: the time, they have a curfew at night where you can’t get permits to stay out that late, you lose about 25 to 30 percent on pay-per-view being in another country, the amount of money in production for Croke Park. I can guarantee you it’s gonna rain. I’m not a meteorologist, but I’ll bet you it’s gonna rain,” he explained.
“I’m not saying we’re never gonna do it, but Vegas for this one.”
Although it would appear logical that a massive stadium would make up the difference in pay-per-view losses, White said that wasn’t necessarily so when asked about it on Sunday night.
“So with 91,000 people there, you actually do a bigger gate in Vegas, probably two million dollars more,” said White. “Because when you’re in a stadium that big, the production costs (go up).
“We’ve got to put up big screens. We definitely got to build something to put over the Octagon because it will rain. There’s a lot of things that you have to do in an arena like that, that you wouldn’t do in Vegas.”
McGregor has made no secret of the fact that he sees himself one day fighting at Croke Park or another large venue in Dublin, he has no issues with challenging Aldo in Sin City.
“It’s absolutely perfect,” he said. “Of course, the stadium is a dream of mine, a vision of mine. But Vegas, I’m happy with Vegas. We’re going to go to Las Vegas and one more head will be collected.”