Coming off a fight against Floyd Mayweather that reportedly earned him north of $100 million, lightweight champion Conor McGregor is struggling to get excited about a possible matchup against interim title holder Tony Ferguson in his return to the UFC.
According to McGregor, it has nothing to do with Ferguson’s skill set inside the Octagon or that he’s somehow not deserving of a shot at the undisputed champion.
McGregor’s problem with Ferguson comes purely from a financial standpoint after his last fight against Kevin Lee pulled in a paltry $678,000 in a live gate with a pay-per-view that the lightweight champion claims finished with only $100,000 buys.
“We’re in negotiation stage right now. That’s a lengthy process,” McGregor teased about his next fight when speaking to the BBC. “They’ve got to make me excited about it. I came from a crazy event, a record-breaking event, the billion dollar fight it was labeled. I made insane money. Then the opponents they’re trying to line up for me, an opponent [Tony Ferguson] with a $600,000 gate in Las Vegas.
“A $600,000 gate in Las Vegas is unheard of, it’s abysmal. So it’s hard to get excited about that. 100,000 pay-per-view buys compared to my 6.5 million pay-per-view buys.”
Of course none of that will matter to Ferguson, who just wants his chance to unify the lightweight titles to become an undisputed champion but that can’t happen without facing McGregor.
Over the past few weeks, McGregor has said that he’s happy to return to the UFC for whatever fight they offer him after he’s given co-promoter status as well seeking some sort of equity such as partial ownership in the company.
The UFC has never co-promoted with anybody before but there’s also never been anyone like McGregor, who has become the biggest draw in all of combat sports over the past few years.
While it seems like the two sides are at an impasse right now, McGregor sounds confident that eventually he’ll come to terms with the UFC on a deal that will make both happy as he awaits his return to the Octagon.
“It’s a hard one to get excited about, but we’re in negotiation stage,” McGregor said.
“Can they entice me? No doubt they can. Have they done yet? No.”