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29th Dec 2016

Dana White disagrees with Conor McGregor over hiatus conversation

Who to believe?

Darragh Murphy

When will we see Conor McGregor again?

That’s the question on the lips of impatient fight fans eager to witness the latest chapter in the career of the man who is arguably the most popular fighter in UFC history.

But the timeline for the Irishman’s return is becoming increasingly cloudy as he and UFC president Dana White continue to go back-and-forth on the agreement that was discussed in relation to McGregor’s time off.

In the moments following his historic victory over Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205, which saw McGregor become the first UFC fighter to hold a world title in two separate weight classes simultaneously, ‘The Notorious’ made his long-awaited announcement.

McGregor revealed that he would be taking a break so that he could be with his long-term girlfriend during the latter stages of her pregnancy and for the arrival of their firstborn.

The baby is due in May, leading many fans to believe that we could see the UFC’s most reliable cash cow take to the Octagon again in early summer.

But White gave short shrift to those suggestions by announcing that McGregor would be out for a minimum of 10 months, which would take him out until August/September, considering he last fought in November.

It appeared as though the Dubliner then disagreed with his boss’ claims by questioning where White arrived at that time-frame, suggesting that he had never mentioned 10 months.

The subject, given McGregor’s popularity, has become one of the most talked-about in the MMA community and it understandably came up while White spoke to the media prior to this weekend’s UFC 207 fight card.

“The last conversation that Conor and I had he was taking 10 months off. I’m not even thinking about Conor. Conor is not in my plans for the next 10 months,” White said on Wednesday, as transcribed by FOX Sports.

“We run a business where we make fights. I know who’s available and I know who’s not available. Conor told me ‘I’m not available for 10 months, we’re having a baby, my girl stresses out when I fight and I don’t want to put that on her while she’s pregnant.’ I love it, I respect it, I get it. Do your thing, buddy.”

While accepting his award for RTÉ’s Sports Person of the Year, McGregor teased plenty of fans by suggesting that his typical restlessness might see him return sooner than many expect.

Various theories claimed that we could see him take to the mat as early as July, while we felt the most likely match-up was the realisation of a trilogy with Nate Diaz in August.

But White is adamant, while matchmaker Sean Shelby busies himself setting up fights for 2017, that McGregor is officially unavailable for the full 10 months.

“That’s it,” White said. “He’s not in any of our plans for the next 10 months.”