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12th Apr 2018

The UFC can actually turn Conor McGregor’s bus attack into a huge positive

Michael Bisping's not wrong

Ben Kiely

We don’t know how the UFC are going to punish Conor McGregor, but if history is anything to go by, they will probably do very little

When Conor McGregor leapt into the cage in Dublin, shoved referee Marc Goddard and struck a Bellator employee, the UFC didn’t really do anything. When he dropped the six-letter f-bomb backstage in Gdansk, Dana White promised to take action, but what action was really taken?

After McGregor and his crew stormed the Barclays Center and threw the dolly through the window of the red corner fighters’ bus, White was appalled. He called it “the most disgusting thing that has ever happen in the history of the company.” He candidly stated that he didn’t believe “anyone is going to be a huge Conor McGregor fan after this.”

Then, just three days later, the UFC president changed his tune dramatically. At the UFC 223 press conference, he confirmed, “We talked yesterday. It’s good.”


There’s no way of crawling inside White’s head and figuring out why he u-turned in such a short period of time. Perhaps talking to McGregor gave him a different perspective. Maybe the owners told him that they still need to business with this guy. One thing’s for sure, cutting ties with McGregor now would be financially disastrous for the promotion.

It’s hard to tell what impact the bus attack had on his fandom. However, it’s undeniable that the incident didn’t negatively affect the interest levels. Like it or not, McGregor is still the biggest deal in the history of the sport. No one can draw PPV numbers as consistently high as ‘The Notorious.’

Not by a long shot.

Time to capitalise

McGregor’s immediate future in the UFC depends on what happens in the courts. If whatever legal decisions get made doesn’t prevent him from fighting Stateside, the UFC would be silly not to use the situation to their advantage.

That’s what Michael Bisping believes the promotion should do, as he explained on his podcast, Believe You Me. Although he doesn’t condone McGregor’s actions, he feels it presents an opportunity for the UFC to turn a decent profit.

“If you’re the UFC, now you have to do Khabib vs. Conor, and that’s all the Countdown show will be. Conor running in there, smashing the window, Khabib’s reaction, all that type of stuff.”

“At the end of the day, is that how you want people to behave? No, but can you turn it into a positive? Of course you fucking can and you can turn it into a shit-ton of money. That is going to be a massive pay-per-view. 100 percent. Khabib already has a huge following. Conor, of course, massive following. Them two fight after all that? Forget about it. Well over 1.5 million buys.”

If McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov happens in 2018, it won’t take place in Russia. However, if and when it does get booked, it will be a huge earner for the UFC.