Conor McGregor and members of his team are probably sitting around this week pondering the after effects of what went down the past few weeks.
“Did we do the right thing?” “Where do we go from here?” “What happens next?”
Only time will tell, but right now it looks for the all the world like his camp simply got it wrong. McGregor might be one of the best at fighting in the world, but he picked a fight he could not win with the UFC.
I am just trying to do my job and fight here. I get paid to fight … https://t.co/xW1P3G2710
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 21, 2016
Conor’s argument was that he was “paid to fight”, not to promote, hence his refusal to show up at a press event in Las Vegas while he was training in Iceland. All well and good, but to do so in such a public manner, as Colin Cowherd put it so well on Fox Sports, was an amateur move.
But it’s a match-up he may well have won, had there been a fighters’ union in place to back him up. Many of his fellow professionals support the stand he took. Many of them too feel that the media requirements placed upon them can be taxing at the best of times, while paltry pay is a recurrent issues among fighters.
Conor McGregor has not had to worry about being poorly paid since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has been the goose that laid the golden egg again and again, so Dana White and the Fertitta’s naturally kept him sweet. Did he deserve special treatment this one time? Probably. Almost definitely when you look at the all important Pay-Per-View numbers.
The UFC didn’t become the UFC by giving in to one fighter, though. No one person is bigger than the company, rather it is the sum of its parts, including the fighters. This is why a union of individuals is so important; a coherent, bonded movement would give them the power to make the kind of stand McGregor did without the fear of reprimand.
The irony in all of this is that the featherweight champion has never supported such a union. Ahead of his fight with Jose Aldo, there was a lot of discussion surrounding the foundation of one, as the Brazilian himself lead the charge. When Irish Times’ journalist Ken Early asked him about it in Las Vegas, the Irishman virtually scoffed.
“I take care of my own business,” was his response. That remains to be seen.