Search icon


20th Jun 2017

UFC’s decision to allow Conor McGregor to keep his title may not be hypocriticial

One champion has already been stripped this week

Ben Kiely

Are the UFC being hypocritical by allowing Conor McGregor to keep his lightweight title? Maybe, maybe not.

There have been some calls for the UFC to take the lightweight strap off Conor McGregor after the announcement that Germaine de Randamie had been removed as women’s featherweight champion.

The UFC released a statement confirming they made this decision because of de Randamie’s refusal to fight number-one contender Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino, who will take on Invicta 145lbs queen Megan Anderson at UFC 214 for the vacant title.

It had been just over four months since de Randamie claimed the belt against Holly Holm at UFC 208. Some suggested that McGregor’s failure to defend his belt after winning it at UFC 205 in November 2016 was more of a reason to strip him.

Elite 155lbs contender Tony Ferguson shared a screenshot of the statement on Twitter, which was clearly meant as a message to the UFC to take McGregor’s belt away.

‘El Cucuy’ has been constantly calling for ‘The Notorious’ to return to the division or relinquish the title since his interim lightweight championship fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 fell through.

It’s true that McGregor had not defended his title in a much longer time than de Randamie, but the ‘Iron Lady’ really didn’t do herself any favours during her brief stint at the top.

The illegal strikes she landed on Holm between rounds left an indelible mark on that triumph. Her reluctance to fight ‘Cyborg’ was a dumb move considering the Brazilian superstar is the only reason why the UFC introduced the weight class.

Also, the excuses for not defending – the hand injury, the hinting at dropping back down to bantamweight and even throwing around the retirement talk – all left a sour taste in fans’ mouths. It gave the impression that she was shirking her responsibilities as champion.

Say what you want about McGregor, but he’s not one to wheel out an excuse to avoid fighting anyone. His short-notice fights against Nate Diaz and Chad Mendes are a testament to this.

One reply to Ferguson’s tweet grabbed our attention.

That makes a whole lot of sense.

McGregor warned the world that he would be taking some time out after that history-making knockout of Eddie Alvarez to await the birth of his child. That’s why the UFC set up the interim scrap between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov to keep the division moving.

Odds are, the UFC did not offer McGregor a top contender, especially after the diamond-encrusted panty night against Floyd Mayweather started gathering momentum. The UFC have too much to gain to not allow that fight to happen. Especially in a year where boxing is arguably having a superior year than MMA in terms of interest and hype.

Sure, the UFC are giving McGregor a lot of leeway but he is, after all, the biggest PPV draw in the history of the sport. Plus McGregor vs. Mayweather is just exceptional business for everyone involved.

There may be other arguments for McGregor being stripped, but using the wording of that particular UFC statement is one that doesn’t really hold up.