For a while there, it looked like Conor McGregor was invincible to the UFC. Finding himself to be the face of the company, McGregor seemingly couldn’t be touched because he, like no one else can, makes one hell of a profit.
After today’s surprising turn of events, even The Notorious has fallen victim to the stern rule of Dana White and the UFC.
McGregor was pulled today from the main card at UFC 219 (to be held on December 30 in Las Vegas) after McGregor stormed the octagon at Bellator 187 in Dublin, Ireland last weekend.
McGregor was at 3Arena on the outskirts of Dublin cheering on teammate Charlie Ward, who would go on to defeat John Redmond in a middleweight bout. McGregor, believing the fight to be over, charged the cage and shoved official Marc Goddard. The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, the boxing and combat sport commission that oversaw the Bellator event, conferred with the UFC, and both sides reportedly came to the agreement that McGregor must be punished for his actions.
It was never a certainty that McGregor would enter the octagon at UFC 219, but most signs pointed to the Dubliner taking on Tony Ferguson for control of the lightweight belt.
McGregor has enjoyed his fair share of shenanigans over the last several years. What made this one different was the utterly clueless nature. McGregor has done some wacky things in the past, but there was something so off-putting about this latest folly. The Notorious is all about making a spectacle, and he’s going to do that no matter what it takes. With that in mind, even McGregor seemed to be above this.
This was going to be an important bout for McGregor –219 would have been McGregor’s first appearance in the octagon since he knocked out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 a year ago. Coming off his boxing defeat to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., this upcoming card was all about the return.
McGregor’s quizzical behavior will only continue to dumbfound all who follow the 29-year-old champ. The key is being able to keep up.
In other UFC news, UFC 218 is set for December 2 at the brand-new Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit. The main card, originally due to be Frankie Edgar vs. Max Holloway for the featherweight title, has been amended. Edgar will sit out 218 with an undisclosed injury, thrusting former featherweight champ Jose Aldo into the lead fight with Holloway. Edgar fought Holloway this past June and won, so the pressure is on Holloway to even the score. We’ll also see the main card debut of Francis Ngannou, the towering Cameroonian who takes a 10-1 record into his bout with current heavyweight #1 Alistair Overeem. Ngannou is a guy I’ve been waiting to see advance to the big-time stage. He’s nothing if not explosive –none of Ngannou’s ten wins have gone past the second round.