Conor McGregor conquered Eddie Alvarez and UFC 205 on Saturday night, but he isn’t stopping there.
He became the sport’s first champion in two weight classes, adding the lightweight belt to his featherweight title as the sport returned to New York City at Madison Square Garden. Afterward, the Irishman, who has sparred verbally with the way UFC does things, gave an interview that was a classic, even by the sport’s standards.
He complained that the organization did not have two belts ready for him in the ring and UFC President Dana White was forced to borrow Tyrone Woodley’s welterweight waist-cincher. And then the man who threatened to retire earlier this year, offered up the seedlings of a sincere, humble statement:
“I’ve ridiculed everyone on the roster. I just want to say from the bottom of me heart. I’d just like to take this time to apologize,” he said, adding after a pause, “To absolutely nobody! The double-champ does what the [expletive] he wants! This is what I dreamed into reality… that looks good, oh that looks good, God bless.”
You were expecting, “I’m going to Disney World”? He was more like, “I’m buying Disney World!” (Watch the video here, with a profanity warning.) A little later, he explained just what he means.
The post-fight scene was exuberantly chaotic, with White doing some explaining about the two-belt snafu and McGregor talking about what’s next after the historic night in NYC. “Just for the record, I’m not supposed to bring his belt — he’s supposed to bring his belt,” White said. “He’s yelling at me because I don’t have his belt. I’m like, ‘No, you’re supposed to bring your belt.’ I give you the new belt.”
Perhaps, but the second-round knockout of Eddie Alvarez further empowered McGregor as UFC changes ownership. Looking more like a businessman than a fighter after the bout, he outlined what he wants — and announced that impending fatherhood affects his mindset, too.
“They’ve got to come talk to me now because no one’s came and talked to me since the sale has happened as a businessman,” McGregor told reporters (via MMA Junkie). “I’ve been approached as, ‘Hello’ and that type of stuff, but I’ve earned something. Who owns the company now? People have shares. Celebrities. Conan O’Brien [and other celebrities] owns the UFC now. Where’s my share? Where’s my equity? If I’m the one that’s bringing this, they’ve got to come talk to me now. I’ve got both belts, family on the way. If you want me to stick around, if you want me to keep doing [this], let’s talk. But I want the ownership now. I want the equal share. I want what I deserve, what I’ve earned.”
McGregor, 28, already is the sport’s highest-paid athlete, but he looks beyond the Octagon, just as he did when he retired/unretired when he was angry over the pre-fight media obligations.
“I feel I’ve outworn the previous contract,” McGregor said. “Now it’s time for the real. I know I’m the highest paid already, but when I’m looking at what they’re taking in, that list that [former UFC CEO] Lorenzo [Fertitta] compiled to show the new owners, that’s like the gospel right there. That’s proof of what I bring. You want me to come around, stick around and service that debt and continue to push, bring me on board for real. Not just as this.
“I need to be set for life for this. If you want me to be truly in on this then I need to be all-in on this, proper. That’s a stake in the company.”
McGregor said he is “fresh” and could easily fight again, but nothing is planned yet. “Not a bother on me. I could go again. I honestly could go again no problem. I’m just going to go chill for a bit, enjoy these two belts and that’s it.
“I could keep going, but I’m aware of my worth. I’ve got a family on the way, I’ve got a kid on the way, and I’m coming for mine now.”