UFC president Dana White is in the business of setting up the most anticipated mixed martial arts events imaginable — not boxing matches featuring his company’s biggest star — so attempting to book a cross-sport superfight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. means navigating uncharted waters.
And boy, have those waters been choppy.
White would like the fight to happen. So would (or so it seems) McGregor and Mayweather. There’s a boatload of money to be made, and the build-up to a potential bout certainly would stroke the two biggest egos in combat sports.
But although White has said on several occasions he’d like to set up the fight as a favor to McGregor, who in the past has stepped in to save UFC, it’s apparent there’s a breaking point at which he’d have no problem washing his hands clean of the negotiations and going back to business as usual.
“Listen, if it doesn’t work for me personally — either way, it doesn’t matter to me,” White said Tuesday on FS1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” “I know that these two guys want to fight. I’ve said many times I respect Conor and I’d like to do this fight for him, but it’s got to be the right deal.
“We have to get the right deal done or it’s not going to happen, because, at the end of the day, this isn’t what I do. The UFC is what I do, and I should be focusing on that, and not a boxing match that … Obviously, a lot of people want to see it, there’s a lot of interest in it, but it’s not really what I do.”
It’s unclear whether the boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin announced this past weekend for Sept. 16 will have any impact whatsoever on negotiations involving McGregor and Mayweather. But White revealed after the announcement that the fight stole his date, which could mean that McGregor and Mayweather won’t square off until the end of 2017 at the earliest.
Either way, it doesn’t seem like a McGregor-Mayweather announcement is imminent. And the longer everything floats on, the more likely it is that White at some point will abandon ship.
“I’m not hinting that it’s getting close at all. I knew that this thing was going to be a nightmare to get done, if it can even be done. We’ll find out,” White said Tuesday. “Obviously, both guys want to fight each other. But what’s the deal? Can the deal be done? That’s the question.
“It’s not even Mayweather. It’s not even Mayweather. It’s definitely both sides,” White added. “It’s not just Mayweather. It’s both sides of this thing are going to be hard to get done. And absolutely, there’s going to be a point where I’m done. This isn’t what I do. This isn’t my business and I’m definitely going to walk away.”
In other words, the clock is ticking — as least as it relates to White’s involvement in everything.