UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has been absent from the Octagon for over 14 months. As predicted by the Inquisitr last week, UFC boss Dana White has finally lost patience with McGregor, and he will strip the Irishman of the title this weekend. The problem for White is that he cannot have McGregor, arguably his top asset, sat on the sidelines, enjoying the high-life, whilst denying other UFC fighters the opportunity to challenge for the title.
Of course, McGregor spent the majority of 2017 preparing to face Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match. Despite losing to Mayweather, McGregor walked away with a purse of over $30 million, so he might feel that he has earned his break lengthy break. The fight against Mayweather is believed to have doubled McGregor’s net worth. However, McGregor, and indeed any UFC fighter, can only dream about MMA purses coming anywhere near those sorts of figures.
According to the Independent, McGregor has earned the two biggest purses in UFC history. He earned a $3 million purse for his UFC featherweight championship match against Nate Diaz at UFC 202, and the same amount when he claimed that lightweight crown from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
With McGregor absent and saying he is unlikely to return to UFC action until this fall, Dana White was left with a huge dilemma. Such a late return to action would mean that McGregor had held the lightweight title for almost two-years without defending it. That effectively means that up and coming fighters, like the highly rated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov, are denied the opportunity to make a title challenge.
According to the Sun, and as forecast by the Inquisitr last week, White has decided to strip McGregor of the title to allow Nurmagomedov to challenge Tony Ferguson in a title fight. McGregor will then have the opportunity to challenge the winner of that contest when he returns to the Octagon later this year.
In many ways White’s decision makes sense. It keeps the lightweight division alive and removes any doubts about who McGregor will face when he does return. That said, it is reported that White will announce his decision at UFC 220 in Boston this Saturday. In a city with such a strong Irish identity, it will be interesting to see how the crowd will react to Irishman McGregor being stripped of his title. It should be fascinating.