Dana White Claims Conor McGregor Turned Down UFC 249 Bout

UFC president Dana White claims Conor McGregor had his chance to step in at UFC 249.

McGregor recently announced his retirement and expressed frustration with the UFC. The “Notorious” one said he felt the promotion kept going against his wishes and weren’t giving him any enticing options. He also disagreed with the UFC’s decision to wait on the lightweight title unification bout until September.

Dana White Says Conor McGregor Turned Down Title Fight

White appeared on ESPN’s First Take and gave his side of the story in the dealings with McGregor. The UFC boss claimed that McGregor was offered a chance to replace either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson if needed at UFC 249, but he turned it down. Nurmagomedov pulled out, so Justin Gaethje ended up stepping in (h/t MMAFighting).

“He wants to fight Gaethje. Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib,” White explained when appearing on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday. “He just beat Tony Ferguson. Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out.

“He came back and said ‘I’m not a replacement fighter, I’m not going to do it.’ He would be in that position now if he took the fight. He didn’t, Gaethje did so Gaethje gets it.”

White has been dealing with more disgruntled top stars as of late. That includes UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal. White has chalked it up to the COVID-19 crisis and not anything wrong with the UFC’s business model.

McGregor last competed back in Jan. 2020. He shared the Octagon with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The “Notorious” one ended up winning the bout via first-round TKO. The bout only lasted 40 seconds. It was his first victory since Nov. 2016 and his first fight since Oct. 2018.

Do you think Dana White and Conor McGregor will eventually smooth things over?