It is important to know that Dana White is a world-class card player. So good is White that the Palms Casino in Las Vegas presented him with a championship belt for his blackjack prowess shown over and over again at their tables.
If you’ve ever been around truly great card players you know they won’t blink. Thousand of dollars in chips on the line and you would never know by looking at their face, specifically their eyes. There is a cool calculation about them, it’s business nothing personal. Really. You might be their closest friend until the cards are dealt.
Conor McGregor laid down his cards in a brief Twitter statement that he was retiring. That was Tuesday and in a little more time than it took Nate Diaz to beat him, he came out of retirement. He blinked first.
UFC 200 is going on. The loyal fans he has and deservingly so, didn’t organize a boycott of UFC events. Fellow fighters didn’t line up in support.
Basically everything White and the UFC knew would happen.
McGregor offered a lengthy explanation on Facebook about his need to focus on fighting, not going to Vegas to promote the rematch with Diaz.
“I am just trying to do my job and fight here.
I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote.
I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting.”
Granted he has a point about spreading himself thin in the whirlwind, never before experienced level of PR since he came to the States and became UFC featherweight champ. However that is a Samauri-sharp sword he’s swung and for cutting into the fame and fortune also has come the deep wound of challenging the brand that made him known across the mainstream.
Even with their ardent following it takes more to cross over to “known” than the pre-flight presser. McGregor and Ronda Rousey have done this with incessant public appearances. To their credit, but once committed to that adulation animal you can’t just quit feeding it. The UFC knows that lure and once they’ve got you, well they’ve got you.
The UFC doesn’t lose. Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, both in their Hall of Fame, and others have thrown down with them in the past with the UFC standing at the end. Business, even among the closest of friends. White’s eyes squarely zoomed in on what needed to happen.
There will be fighters who come and go; some PPVs will be much more than others; fans will not abandon just step away occasionally; and the UFC is still the king of the hill. It is the good and bad. They will make big fights happen because they control the fighters. And because of that, fighters will have limited say.
McGregor is a smart. Certainly enough to realize you throw your punch and see what happens. As it’s happened, he’s not the first to blink facing the Dana Stare. There’s plenty of outstanding company.
Welcome back Conor.
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