Following the conclusion of arguably the biggest press tour ever seen, UFC president Dana White chimed in on what to expect from his company’s biggest star, Conor McGregor, after he boxes Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor World Tour was a rousing success. Viewing figures were well over 4 million from the Showtime and UFC YouTube channels alone and tickets at every stop rapidly sold out along the way. In short, the tour lived up to the hype.
“We knew it was going to be big, but the Staples Center sold out like that. Barclays Center sold out like that. We had to get a bigger venue in Toronto to hold 16,500 because the other one was too small. And then London sold out in ten minutes,” White said in a media scrum in London. “So it’s been incredibly successful and I think a fight people were already excited about has seen people become insane about now.”
One of the hot topics following the announcement of the bout was, win or lose, where does Conor McGregor go from here?
Many have questioned if he would have another boxing match, whether he would simply retire, or whether he would return to the Octagon and against whom?
“I’m going to be dealing with that for the rest of my career. Back in the day, people always asked, ‘what will you do when Chuck Liddell and (Georges St-Pierre) retire?'” said White.
“It’s all the same. Michael Jordan didn’t play Basketball forever. No athlete can continue to go on forever. What my job is and what they pay me to do is find the big up-and-coming talent and cultivate them into a superstar. You’re never going to find another Conor McGregor. I call him the unicorn. But you go out and you find another star.”
He hasn’t, however, written the brash Irishman off after his bout with Mayweather.
“I’ve talked with him and his agent about it, Conor McGregor is a huge part of this company and we’re going to make him feel like it,” White responded when asked if he thinks McGregor will return to MMA.
Regardless of the result against Mayweather, McGregor is going to have the world’s eyes on him, win or lose, following the conclusion of this fight.
“God yeah, imagine if he knocks Floyd Mayweather out. He will show up to press conferences seven hours late,” laughed White.
“I’ll tell you this. I’ve been in this business a long time and it’s awesome working with Conor McGregor. He is a special individual and he makes this fun.”
White even intimated that McGregor does already have plans in mind for his Octagon return. Those plans involve a certain Russian fighter that has long been clamoring for a shot at McGregor.
“(McGregor) isn’t desperate to fight (Khabib Nurmagomedov) in Russia, but he wants to. That’s what makes Conor so special, he’s willing to take risks and lay it all on the line. I mean, he’s come in here and challenged Floyd Mayweather to a boxing match.”
McGregor’s drawing power, regardless of the result against Mayweather, will grow exponentially in the aftermath of this event. His next move is always pondered by many fans across the world. Should he return to the UFC, the company will happily laud the return of its crown jewel.
“He’s very important to this company. He’s always been a standup guy. When we’ve been in bad situations, he’s done what no other fighter has ever done. He’ll take a fight. He will fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. Lot’s of people say it. I’m the guy on the phone asking them to do it. I know who does and who doesn’t,” said White.
“Conor McGregor is the unicorn. He is the unicorn.”
(Follow @HasKarimMMA on Twitter)