Dana White had to address something Conor McGregor mentioned at the opening of the UFC 229 press conference. Where were all the fans?
One of the biggest things that stood out at the UFC 229 press conference was that no public access was granted for what is considered one the biggest matchups coming from the UFC. McGregor making his return to the UFC where he grew his fan base mentioned that the move was a poor move by the UFC citing the energy fans bring to UFC press events.
“Where’s the f–king fans at? That’s who we fight for. That’s who pays the bills. That’s who deserves this show.” –Conor McGregor
White was asked directly why no fans were allowed and White responded, “We had problems in New York, I don’t want any problems in New York today.”
White may not have only been alluding to the incident on fight week of UFC 223 last April, but he could also have been trying to keep the sport from being looked down on in the state that only lifted the ban on professional MMA as recently as 2016. Prior to that year, New York State was the last state that banned professional MMA events from being held at Madison Square Garden or anywhere else in New York.
Getting MMA in New York was pushed hard by the UFC that year, making UFC 205 one their proudest moments not only for being the first major MMA promotion in Madison Square Garden but by breaking gate records when they did it. Still, the gate is set by fans that were welcomed in the theater for press conferences and fan events for UFC 205 that was headlined by McGregor when he won the lightweight title.
That was before he took a dolly to a bus in Brooklyn and injured other fighters prompting their removal from UFC 223 and lawsuits that McGregor is still having to deal with.
How do you feel about the UFC 229 press conference not having any fans there?