This Dana White/Conor McGregor debacle shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
It all started a week back when McGregor announced his ‘retirement’ on Twitter, which understandably led to the UFC dropping him from their bicentennial show.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Then he seemed to backtrack on the whole thing, announcing that he would in fact be fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 200, on July 9th.
He even took the time to thank the promotion’s president Dana White, and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 25, 2016
We thought, right, finally this is all sorted. But White threw another spanner into the works yesterday, when The LA Times reported he had sent a text to the news outlet, completely refuting McGregor’s claims.
The text allegedly read:
Not true. We haven’t talked [to] Conor or his manager since the press conference. I don’t know why he would tweet that.
However, it’s fair to say that this not might be the wisest decision because it could end up costing the company millions of dollars.
According to ESPN, the UFC stands to lose $45 million (£31 million) if McGregor was left off the card. You heard that right, $45 million.
So how did they pluck this figure out of the air? Well first thing’s first, White told ESPN that the McGregor-Diaz bout managed to gain 1.5 million pay-per-view buys.
Compare that to the alternative for the main event at UFC 200 – Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier – which only did 800,000, that’s a big increase.
Everyone flew in. Respect.
But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 22, 2016
If you believe White’s numbers for UFC 196 and take into account the fact it’s a rematch you’d probably expect over 500,000 more buys.
At $70 (£48) per buy, that’s over $36 million (£24.7 million) in additional gross revenue.
If you also take the tickets into account – which are expected to be the most expensive at face value in UFC history – this could also make a massive difference.
UFC 196 broke the record for live gate revenue, at $8.1 million (£5.7 million). At face value, the McGregor-Diaz prices started at $204 (£140) and were selling for as much as $1,454 (£999).
Meanwhile, in comparison, the UFC 195 ticket prices for Condit-Lawler were $104 (£71) and topped at $804 (£552) ESPN reported. Oh, and it drew almost 3,500 fewer fans. A live gate difference of $6 million (£4.1 million).
With that being said, $10 million (£6.9 million) could be achievable and without McGregor it’d be pretty much impossible to justify the price jump.
Throw in another $800,000 (£550,000) for additional merchandise royalties and concession revenue and you’re pretty much there.
So if this anything to go by, it would be a serious shock if McGregor isn’t put back on the card.