UFC president Dana White is risking the ire of his biggest star, Conor McGregor, after ruling out the Irishman’s request to fight Dustin Poirier this year and instead offering him a January 23 date for the potential bout.
McGregor has been vocal in his desire for a rematch with Poirier, initially calling for a charity ‘exhibition’ match with the American in his native Dublin in December – but those plans appear to have fallen by the wayside after White confirmed that he was in the process of arranging for a UFC bout agreement to be sent to both men.
Having not fought since January’s 40-second destruction of Donald Cerrone, McGregor wrote on social media that he was seeking a November or December fight with Poirier, whom he previously defeated in 2014 by first-round TKO.
However, White hasn’t ceded to McGregor’s demands and has offered him a date towards the end of January and, according to reports, there is no wiggle-room on his part for negotiation.
“We offered him a fight, we got him his own date,” White said to ESPN. “We didn’t have a date this year. We have everything laid out for this year, with world champions fighting for titles. He wants to fight Dustin Poirier apparently, so we went to ESPN and got him his own date. He’s been offered Dustin Poirier on January 23.
“It’s a yes or no answer.“
Hello Dustin! I accepted the @ufc offer to fight you, but told them it must happen in 2020. I’m ready for Nov 21st, given that cards recent injury issues, as well as any of the December dates, the 12th and the 19th. I’ll also still donate the $500k to The Good Fight Foundation 🙏 https://t.co/23hN4AHtoI
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 8, 2020
We’ll get it worked out! Good man, We will use the donation to open a Boxing/MMA Academy on the side of town me and @dc_mma grew up were the tuition for the kids will be good grades.🙏 https://t.co/gfy7lMUBtp
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 8, 2020
This will likely be met with fierce resistance from McGregor, who outlined that the fight must take place on the previously arranged pay-per-views November 21 or December 12. However, both events already feature two title fights – and White said that he was unwilling to alter the company’s schedule to accommodate McGregor.
Asked why McGregor is so insistent on fighting before the the turn of the year, White couldn’t offer any explanation.
“I have no clue,” he said.
“That’s not how it works. We laid out this year. He was retired. Would anybody disagree he was retired? Through this crazy pandemic year we’re going through, we faced a lot of challenges.
“There were a lot of things done to make this thing work. We made it happen. We have our schedule laid out. Fighters have committed to it. Fighters have started training for these fights. Conor came back and wants to fight Dustin, so we went out and got him his own date. It’s January 23.”
McGregor indicated on social media in recent days that he saw the Poirier fight as an ideal lead-in to his proposed boxing with Manny Pacquiao – with potential schedule conflicts therein being theorized as a reason for McGregor’s apparently limited window to take on Poirier.