The latest on Conor McGregor is that he is in conflict with the UFC over his contract and that he is facing potential criminal charges, that is, there is nothing new with him. This is what McGregor's life has turned into over the past few years as he went from collecting government welfare to making a small fortune in the eye.
It has been a wild, sometimes exciting, sometimes disturbing sequence of events since then that culminated in a Monday that began with a cheeky tweet and ended with a newsworthy hammer of news that places McGregor in the midst of an active sexual assault policy investigation. The New York Times reported that the former UFC champion was accused of charging a woman in Ireland in an incident dating back to December last year and that the investigation continues.
As a magnetic of a personality he is, McGregor has also attracted his share of problems. There was the time he jumped the cage in Bellator and physically confronted a judge, the infamous bus attack in Brooklyn and, among other things, the phone-broken incident in Florida. He has been arrested three times in the last year. None of that makes him guilty of the latest crime he is accused of, but neither is evidence of evidence in his defense.
While justice wheels slowly grind, McGregor's career has also hit a beat. Early Monday morning in the US, McGregor tweeted that he would retire. No one took it seriously at the moment, mostly because he is on record within the very last week of wanting to get back to the Octagon to compete. And also because he threatened the pension before, only to return within a few months. The belief was that McGregor, as he did last time, used his social media pulpit as his only available gearing to get a better deal from the UFC to return. McGregor has long said he will – no, deserve – a stake in the UFC as part of his compensation.
Frankly, he's right. UFC sold in 2017 under a value of DKK 4,025 billion. USD, which was partly created by McGregor's superstardom. Its valuation has only risen since then; according to the UFC itself, the figure is now about $ 7 billion. In 2018 and 2019, the promotion signed two separate, multi-year agreements with ESPN, which largely ensures that the promotion will receive record revenues, even though pay-per-view receipts are dampened. These offers were partly due to the McGregor effect. McGregor has headlined five of the six best-selling UFC pay-per-view events of all time. He is a historic MMA cash cow, and ESPN paid in part for the rights to all his future matches.
He has made hundreds of millions – perhaps even over $ 1 billion – in revenue and in valuation for his campaign. It is undeniable, but he has no way of negotiating and receiving the percentage of money in relation to his worth. His gearing is limited. Worse than his point of view, his pay-per-view cut will almost fall below the new ESPN agreement, as his battles will not be behind one, but two toll roads, making it unlikely to buy last-minute impulse events.
So, McGregor, whose value contributed to a record of real estate expenditure and two rich television contracts, can actually make less money as a result. It seems both unfair and ridiculous. But on the other hand …
If you're on the UFC's side of the negotiating table and you take a look at McGregor's recent antics, behaviors and legal issues, you wouldn't hesitate a little before you back up Brink's truck? It is understandable that they may be more cautious about being a partner with him now than they were only two or three years ago, even though we are honest, they would never agree on a stake.
"It will never happen," said UFC President Dana White, TMZ Monday afternoon. White's warranties are hardly written in stone, but this looks like a lock. In sports history there has never been a situation where an active athlete had a stake in the organization he or she played for. McGregor would not just fight for the UFC brass's wishes; he would try to tell the story and try to do it at a time when he was accused of a violent crime.
Until yesterday, McGregor might have had the public on his side. He is one of the few professional warriors who can gather the troops with a few words. Some of these followers will remain stuck in his corner, but others will ask the obvious questions of a man who seems at the top of the world but still stays in trouble.
What's going on there?
What happens now?
Is he out of the deep end for good?
It's not pleasant questions to ask, and it's not a fun situation for anyone. We much prefer that McGregor's top controversy is a contract negotiation or something stupid sweep. We yearn for the simplicity of youth, and Nate Diaz throws one another in the middle. We do not want to believe he will blow it, everything will come down and crash around him. He was such an emotional story, now on the verge of becoming a warning story.
For now MMA is looking far away. McGregor has important concerns to turn down, those who demand his attention and sober introspection. This seems like a crossroad moment for him, but where? The next few months will start offering answers, but before he can rectify his contract, he has to address a surprise obstacle to it: himself.