'Money changes everything': Inside the seven-year free fall of Conor McGregor

THE FANTASY BECAME a reality as Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stood face-to-face in a memorable picture taken on July 12, 2017, by lauded combat photographer Esther Lin. The two fighters were at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto on the second stop of a world tour to promote their upcoming boxing match on Aug. 26, 2017.

McGregor, dressed to the nines in a royal blue suit, his arm outstretched in Mayweather’s face, beckoning him to bring it on. Mayweather, wearing black jeans, a black The Money Team T-shirt with a matching baseball cap — and perhaps millions in jewelry — pointing at his Irish opponent.

A sea of fans stretched beyond what Lin’s lens could capture. Plenty were there to see Mayweather, but many, if not more, were there to see McGregor. Irish flags and pro-McGregor signs were scattered throughout the crowd. While Mayweather had long been boxing’s biggest cash cow, the realization that McGregor wasn’t too far behind was crystallizing.

McGregor matched Mayweather’s wit on the microphone and left Toronto as the fan favorite.

This moment solidified McGregor as one of the biggest attractions in combat sports and as a mainstream megastar. This wasn’t just a fight but a global event that captured everyone’s imagination.

But what started as a tour featuring two of the biggest superstars in combat sports devolved into a trash-talking, ego-measuring contest — bringing out the worst in McGregor.

Gone was the three-piece suit after the Toronto showdown, replaced with floral pants and a mink polar bear coat draped over his shirtless shoulders. What had been friendly, yet competitive banter transformed into racially insensitive and anti-gay verbal jabs.

Mayweather was used to this kind of attention. McGregor — four years removed from making a disclosed $24,000 for beating Max Holloway — was entering new territory as a celebrity.

“Conor was realizing that he was just as popular as Mayweather and he could have his audience,” Lin, who has photographed McGregor and Mayweather in her career, told ESPN. “I don’t know if he had it in him before that stop but he certainly embraced it during the tour and knew exactly how to ride that to the top.”

Just over a month later, Mayweather scored a 10th-round stoppage over McGregor. But the pain of losing was quickly remedied by the massive success of the event that earned McGregor a guaranteed purse of $30 million according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission — which the Irishman suggested ballooned to over $100 million when including the pay-per-view, gate, sponsorship revenue and merchandise sales — for less than 30 minutes of work. The estimated $55.5 million live gate registered as the second biggest in boxing history, while the 4.3 million pay-per-view buys fell shy of the 4.6 million generated by Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao.

The $130 million payday dwarfed McGregor’s previous high of $6.8 million for his UFC lightweight championship win over Eddie Alvarez. UFC president Dana White knew that the Conor McGregor of old was long gone.

“Conor might never fight again,” White told reporters during a media luncheon at UFC headquarters in November 2017. “The guy’s got $100 f—ing million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working … try to get up every day and get punched in the face when you have $100 million in the bank.

“Money changes everything.”

McGregor has chased the professional and monetary highs he reached nearly seven years ago since the night he walked out of the boxing ring against Mayweather. What’s transpired since 2017 is just one UFC win and countless setbacks, including: arrests, injuries, lawsuits and multiple allegations of sexual assault.



Flashback: Conor McGregor wreaks havoc at UFC 223 media day

Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor stormed Barclays Center with his entourage on Thursday, appearing to damage a vehicle containing UFC fighters.

Nov. 10, 2017: McGregor returns to the sport of MMA in support of SBG Ireland teammate Charlie Ward at Bellator 187 in Dublin. McGregor jumped into the cage to celebrate Ward’s win before the fight was over and was involved in a melee.

March 2, 2018: Dana White announces his intentions to strip McGregor of his lightweight title due to inactivity. The plan is to award the title to the winner of the scheduled fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson on April 7. Ferguson pulled out of the bout on April 1 due to injury and was replaced on short notice by Al Iaquinta.

April 5, 2018: Following UFC 223 media day, McGregor and about a dozen men stormed the loading dock at the Barclays Center in pursuit of Nurmagomedov, who slapped McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov early in the week. McGregor launched a metal dolly at a bus carrying UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov. The dolly shattered a window, and the fragments injured Michael Chiesa, Ray Borg and Brandon Moreno. McGregor turned himself into the NYPD and was charged with three counts of assault and criminal mischief. White called the incident “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company.”

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ON AUG. 3, 2018, it was announced that McGregor would end his nearly two-year MMA hiatus and challenge Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018. Although there had been concerns about McGregor’s behavior, White, less than a year removed from McGregor’s cash-grab match with Mayweather, now scoffed at the notion that McGregor’s desire to be the best fighter in the world had softened.

“I wouldn’t say this is a crossroads fight [for McGregor] … this is a very important fight for both fighters,” White said. “In my opinion, and it’s crazy to say this because of how popular he is around the world, he’s one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC.”

Unlike his previous feuds with opponents, there was an obvious and distinct mutual hatred between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. But White didn’t think that their vitriol would manifest into anything he would have to be concerned about.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any problems with these guys,” White said.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

By the time UFC 229 fight week began, the fight had grown into one of the most hostile rivalries in UFC history. McGregor’s trash talk toward Nurmagomedov crossed religious and cultural lines, including taunting Nurmagomedov’s Muslim faith by offering him whiskey to drink at a pre-fight news conference and referring to Nurmagomedov’s Egyptian manager as a “terrorist.”

The tension was thick at a pre-fight news conference where Nurmagomedov was unwilling to wait for McGregor, who was late. A pro-McGregor crowd only incensed Nurmagomedov, who answered inquiries about his opponent, the bus attack and reiterated that this was less about defending his title and more about defeating his opponent.

“Honestly for me, this is more than defending my title. For me, it’s more than fight for the title, more than main event. For me, it’s personal. Honestly, for me it’s personal,” Nurmagomedov said. “Of course this is biggest fight in UFC history and we’re going to break record numbers … but for me it’s personal.”

Nurmagomedov departed before McGregor arrived, but that didn’t stop the Irishman from holding court for his fans, trashing the champion and making it clear that it was also personal.

“There is way deeper s— than just a fight on Saturday night,” McGregor said. “I’m going to settle this the noble way for myself and then see what happens after that … f— peace. There will never be peace here. I always say you should aim for peace but if you can’t aim for peace, aim between the eyes. I’m gonna to aim right between that man’s eyes and this is never over. Never, ever, ever over.”

It was a precursor to one of the ugliest scenes to occur at a UFC event in the promotion’s history.

When the two finally met in the Octagon at UFC 229, Nurmagomedov took out his frustrations on McGregor and dominated him with his trademark wrestling before forcing the Irishman to tap out to a neck crank in the fourth round. Even though an emphatic statement was made regarding who the dominant fighter was, Nurmagomedov wasn’t quite through with McGregor and his team.

The Dagestan fighter turned his attention to Team McGregor and engaged in a verbal tirade before scaling the cage and launching himself at McGregor’s training partner, Dillon Danis. An ugly melee ensued with fights taking place outside and inside the Octagon. Three members of Team Nurmagomedov jumped into the Octagon to attack McGregor before the Las Vegas Metro police detained those involved in the incident.

McGregor was fined $50,000 and received a six-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his role in the brawl. Despite all of the ugliness, the event cemented McGregor as the UFC’s biggest star as UFC 229 set records with an attendance of 20,034 fans for a live gate of $17.2 million — the highest ever for an MMA event in Nevada — while also netting a reported 2.4 million PPV buys, the largest for any MMA fight. However, the damage has been done to McGregor’s aura as the best fighter in the world. And those closest to him had a front-row seat to witness McGregor’s fall from grace.

“He had a dream in his life to become something,” McGregor trainer Colin Byrne said in the 2023 documentary “McGregor Forever.” “He got to be the champion and then it came with all the other s—. That distraction, it pulls you, it pulls you, it pulls you away from what you wanted to be in the first place.

“The Khabib fight was a kick in the hole and he deserved it. There’s nothing nice about any of that. All that anger and the press conference and the incident after the fight. There are no winners in any of that, that’s just all hate.”

Sept. 11, 2018: Michael Chiesa sues McGregor for an undisclosed amount following UFC 223 bus attack, citing “serious personal, economic and other injury” and “severe emotional distress, mental trauma and/or bodily harm” in court papers filed to Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn, New York.

March 11, 2019: McGregor is arrested and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief after attacking a fan in Miami who attempted to take a picture of McGregor with a cell phone. The charges and a subsequent civil suit are later dropped.

March 26, 2019: The New York Times reports that McGregor is under investigation for allegations of sexual assault at a Dublin hotel in December 2018. Shortly after the report, McGregor announced he was retiring from MMA. This is the second time he has “retired” from MMA on social media.

Aug. 15, 2019: TMZ publishes an April video of McGregor punching 50-year-old Desmond Keogh at The Marble Arch Pub in Dublin.

Oct. 11, 2019: McGregor appears in court for assault charges from The Marble Arch Pub incident.

Nov. 1, 2019: McGregor pleads guilty to assault stemming from the attack on Keogh in April and fined $1,000.

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On Nov. 28, 2019, the UFC announced that McGregor would return to the Octagon at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 for a welterweight fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, ending a 15-month hiatus since losing to Nurmagomedov.

“Conor wants to fight three times this year,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “He’s hoping he can turn right around and fight Khabib, but that timing isn’t going to work out. But Conor thinks the way Conor thinks. He’s thinking, ‘I’ll fight Cowboy, I’ll beat Cowboy and I’ll be ready to fight Khabib at 155 pounds.

“Conor is in line next [for Khabib Nurmagomedov] if he beats Cowboy.”

Fans and fighters questioned how McGregor could be in line for a rematch with Nurmagomedov if he had previously fought at welterweight. White cited the first fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov, and what the Irish fighter had done for the sport as the reason he would leapfrog other potential opponents. McGregor is also reportedly targeted for a fight with then-BMF champion Jorge Masvidal at welterweight for the BMF title if he could not land the Nurmagomedov fight.

The buildup to the fight contrasts his fights with Nurmagomedov and Mayweather, as McGregor is civil and complimentary of his opponent.

“For me, this is the right way to go about a fight,” McGregor said in an interview with ESPN.

During fight week, McGregor continued to be complimentary of his opponent.

“As time has gone on, he’s become a family man and you guys have seen him compete so many times,” McGregor said at the pre-fight news conference. “It’s hard not to respect Donald right now, at this stage. He has my respect. Although there will be blood spilled on January 18, it will not be bad blood.”

Even without the vitriolic rivalry heading into the fight, McGregor put together one of his finest performances and dismantled Cerrone in 40 seconds. It’s his last win in the Octagon to date.

McGregor doesn’t target a specific opponent in the post-fight interview, but White is keen to make a fight with the winner of the lightweight title bout between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

“After tonight, and with how Khabib won the first time and how famous Khabib has become after that first fight, we’re looking at Hagler vs. Hearns, Ali vs. Foreman, Ali vs. Frazier,” White said after the fight. “This is a massive fight with global appeal, it’s the fight to make, it’s the fight that makes sense.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic would alter any plans the UFC and the fight world may have had.

On March 16, 2020, Dana White announced that the UFC will postpone their next three events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. McGregor is on lockdown in Ireland and his coach, John Kavanagh, said an April return for the former two-division champion won’t happen.

McGregor’s future is up in the air. And with nothing but idle time on his hands, he’s forced to wait until the world sorts itself out.

The world, specifically White, sorts out a rematch fight between McGregor and Dustin Poirier. The two fought previously at UFC 178 in 2014, resulting in a TKO victory for McGregor.

Once again, McGregor’s tone is uplifting to his opponent.

“After that loss many, many years ago he rose up and became a champion,” McGregor said at the UFC 257 pre-fight news conference. “He’s given so much back and I’m honored to share the Octagon with this man. I know we have this competitive fire and it’s still there … it’s going to be a firework-filled bout, but the respect is admirable for this man from me.”

It was also announced that McGregor had agreed to donate to Poirier’s “The Good Fight Foundation” charity. The Irishman also reiterated his desire to compete.

“I feel like I’m only starting,” McGregor said at the UFC 257 pre-fight news conference. “Everyone says ‘Hey Conor, you’ve done it all. You’re so rich. What are you doing here?’ Am I not allowed here? I want to be here and perform for the fans. …All the money, all the belts, that comes and goes. Do you know what lives on? Highlights.”

But the highlight of this night belonged to Poirier, as he avenged his loss by knocking out McGregor in the second round. McGregor blamed the inactivity for the loss, as it was only his second fight since 2018.

June 7, 2020: McGregor retires … again. Although the UFC has managed to get back to work putting on events — albeit without fans — there is no clarity on when McGregor will return to action.

Sept. 10, 2020: McGregor is arrested on the French island of Corsica on suspicion of sexual assault and indecent exposure for an alleged incident at a bar. He is released without charge two days later.

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FOLLOWING THE KNOCKOUT loss to Poirier, critics questioned whether this new, kinder version of McGregor lost the desire to compete at the highest level. People wanted the old McGregor back.

“Most people fight to get out of the financial burdens that they are going through,” McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, said in the “McGregor Forever” documentary. “Conor has done that. Most normal people would be like, ‘I’ve made all my money and there’s no real need to fight again. But I think the difference with Conor is that he wants to prove it more so to himself that he’s the baddest man on the planet.”

For better or worse, the old Conor McGregor was back.

On April 2, 2021, a rubber match between McGregor and Poirier was booked for UFC 264 on July 10. While the previous meeting saw a cordial build between the two combatants, the leadup to the trilogy bout was anything but. The donation from McGregor to Poirier’s nonprofit was never received and led to a verbal jousting that took a turn for the worse heading into the grudge match. McGregor hearkened back to the buildups before the Mayweather and Nurmagomedov fights and hurled insults at Poirier and his wife, even threatening to pull out of the fight.

But that anger and trash talk had little effect on Poirier. McGregor found himself on the wrong side of Poirier’s ground-and-pound early in an opening round that appeared to be a continuation of their previous fight. Once the fight got back to the feet with seconds left in the round, McGregor took an ill-fated step backward and collapsed to the canvas. His lower left leg twisted under his weight as he broke his left tibia.

The fight was stopped and Poirier was awarded the win via TKO due to a doctor stoppage. Considering that Poirier was in control until the end, many believed that McGregor’s best years were behind him, as it was the first time he had lost consecutive fights in his lauded career.

July 11, 2021: McGregor has surgery for his fractured tibia and fibula. McGregor takes to social media to announce that he will “build back” after six weeks of crutches. White suggests a fourth fight with Poirier is likely after McGregor recovers.

Sept. 12, 2021: McGregor gets into an altercation with rapper Machine Gun Kelly on the red carpet of the MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center. McGregor throws a punch at Kelly but misses.

Oct. 16, 2021: Italian musician and TV presenter Francesco Facchinetti claims that McGregor punched him while at a nightclub in Rome. Facchinetti says that McGregor broke his nose and filed charges against the MMA fighter a few days later.

Nov. 22, 2021: McGregor says he’s fighting for the lightweight title on social media ahead of champion Charles Oliveira’s defense against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 on Dec. 11.

Jan. 12, 2022: McGregor’s pub, The Black Forge Inn, is targeted with petrol bombs. There were no injuries or property damage.

March 18, 2022: McGregor turns his attention to welterweight and issues a challenge to Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title.

March 22, 2022: McGregor is arrested in Dublin for six driving offenses (including two counts of dangerous driving) and has his Bentley seized by police. He’s later released on bail.

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Chandler recounts early meeting with Conor McGregor

Michael Chandler explains the uncomfortable atmosphere surrounding an early meeting with Conor McGregor.

DESPITE MCGREGOR LOSING consecutive fights for the first time in his MMA career, the allure and financial upside of facing the Irishman ensures he will have no shortage of opponents if and when he returns to action. However, one particular fighter gets McGregor’s attention: Michael Chandler.

The former Bellator lightweight champion signed with the UFC in September 2020 and quickly made a name for himself by turning in a series of exciting performances in both victory and defeat. His 2021 Fight of the Year performance against Justin Gaethje cements his status as one of the most exciting fighters in the promotion and his brutal front kick knockout of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 on May 7, 2022, officially put him on McGregor’s radar.

After calling for fights with Gaethje and then-lightweight champion Oliveira during his post-fight interview, Chandler planted his flag for what he wanted next.

“If Dana White and Hunter Campbell have a momentary lapse of judgment and give the title shot to someone else, I got one dude on my mind — Conor McGregor!” Chandler said. “You have got to come back and fight somebody. I am the most entertaining lightweight on the planet. But I want to up the stakes, Conor. I want you at your biggest, I want you at your baddest and I want you at your best. “

Unlike other McGregor callouts, this one gets the attention of the Irishman and he promptly responds on social media, entertaining the idea of a fight between the two.

But if there’s one thing for sure about Conor McGregor, it’s that nothing is for sure about Conor McGregor. He spent the next several months chasing fights with Islam Makhachev, Poirier and Nurmagomedov on social media.

On Feb. 4, 2023, the UFC announced that McGregor would return and coach opposite Chandler for “The Ultimate Fighter” season 31 with the intention that McGregor and Chandler will eventually meet in the Octagon. McGregor previously coached TUF in 2015 against Urijah Faber, but no fight between the two commenced. However, there is optimism that McGregor will make his return to the UFC following the taping.

“At this stage, it’s not really about winning or losing anymore,” Byrne said in the “McGregor Forever” documentary. “The fighting is a very small part of it. It’s really only something we do for 10 minutes. It’s the rest of the months, weeks, years that — it’s not really about fighting. It’s about what he can do as a force in the world. He’s got a platform to do great or do bad.”

May 11, 2022: After being ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2021, McGregor is absent from the 2022 list.

August 2022: McGregor lands the role of the villain Knox in the “Road House” remake.

Sept. 10, 2022: Without a fight lined up, McGregor says the trilogy with Nate Diaz “will happen” after Diaz finishes Tony Ferguson in the last fight of Diaz’s UFC contract.

Nov. 22, 2022: McGregor is sued by former friend and training partner Artem Lobov for unpaid proceeds from the sale of Proper Twelve.

Dec. 3, 2022: McGregor settles lawsuit with Michael Chiesa from the bus incident four years prior for an undisclosed amount.

Dec. 12, 2022: A second lawsuit is filed from a former friend over the Proper Twelve sale.

Jan. 11, 2023: McGregor misses an Ireland court appearance for dangerous driving due to the flu.

Jan. 24, 2023: An Irish woman alleges in July 2022 that McGregor assaulted her on his yacht in Ibiza, Spain. She alleges McGregor punched her and threatened to drown her at a party in July on his boat during a birthday party for McGregor. The woman also alleges that she jumped off the yacht to get away from McGregor, breaking her arm in the process. McGregor denies the allegations through his attorney. Days before the claim, the woman’s car was set on fire by unknown assailants.

Feb. 23, 2023: The civil suit for the McGregor yacht assault is dropped by the woman.

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‘THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER’ concludes on Aug. 15, 2023, and Team McGregor is thoroughly dominated by Team Chandler. McGregor’s team can only muster one win out of eight fights in the bantamweight and lightweight quarterfinals. Moreover, McGregor makes sporadic appearances on the show, making promotion for a potential bout between the two coaches more different. The finale teases a fight between McGregor and Chandler, but no date is set.

The biggest hurdle that prevents McGregor from competing is the United States Anti-Doping Agency, as he had yet to reenter the testing pool required to compete after his leg injury in 2021.

USADA requires that a fighter return to the testing pool for a minimum of six months and pass two drug tests before returning to the Octagon. McGregor returned to the testing pool on Oct. 8, 2023, but controversy soon followed.

Shortly after McGregor’s announcement, USADA announced that their eight-year partnership with the UFC would end after 2023. USADA CEO Travis Tygart released a statement questioning the UFC’s motivations for ending their partnership and inferred that McGregor’s complicated situation was chief among the reasons.

USADA clarified their rule would apply to all athletes and Tygart suggested to ESPN that McGregor’s inability to find a workaround to the rule “clearly upset [the UFC] and that’s what led to the about-face.”

McGregor pushed back on the idea that he would need to spend six months in the testing pool and suggested that he should only pass two drug tests before being allowed to compete. USADA was unwilling to bend, causing White to publicly blast USADA in an interview with TSN.

The UFC remained steadfast that McGregor’s situation was not why the relationship ended and suggested that the only reason the relationship lasted as long as it did was because USADA was the only game in town.

At the end of 2023, the UFC announced the details for the new UFC Anti-Doping Policy (UFC ADP) that went into effect on Dec. 31, 2023. In the interim, McGregor remained in the middle of several legal issues.

April 29, 2023: McGregor attends a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event and faces off with Mike Perry after his main event win over Luke Rockhold. Four days later, McGregor teases pulling up in a yacht at WWE’s SummerSlam. Curiosity is piqued regarding whether McGregor intends to compete in the UFC again.

June 9, 2023: McGregor is involved in a skit at halftime of Game 4 of the NBA Finals where he’s to punch Miami Heat mascot Burnie. McGregor takes things too far after punching the mascot when he delivers a second blow to the fallen Burnie. The man inside the costume is taken to the emergency room for injuries sustained in the incident.

June 11, 2023: McGregor was accused of sexually assaulting a woman inside the VIP restroom at the Kaseya Center at Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Miami. The woman claims McGregor “aggressively kissed her” before attempting to force her into multiple sexual acts. McGregor denies the allegation through his attorney.

Aug. 20, 2023: McGregor announces on social media, “They aren’t going to let me fight in 2023,” and looks toward 2024 for his Octagon return.

Oct. 17, 2023: Charges are dropped in the Miami Heat sexual assault case due to insufficient evidence.

Dec. 31, 2023: McGregor posts a video on X saying the fight with Chandler will happen on June 29 at 185 pounds, the highest weight McGregor has competed at. There is no confirmation from the UFC.

March 19, 2024: McGregor says “all systems go” for the fight with Chandler. There is no confirmation from the UFC.

March 21, 2024: The remake of “Road House” featuring McGregor is released.

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Dana White announces Conor McGregor’s UFC return vs. Michael Chandler

Dana White breaks the news that Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon to face Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 303 on June 29 in Las Vegas.

AT THE UFC 300 post-fight news conference, White discreetly unfolds a piece of paper and announces that McGregor-Chandler will take place at UFC 303 during International Fight Week on June 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. No grandiose video package during the PPV or anything noteworthy of a celebratory moment. Rather than jubilation, a collective sigh of relief sweeps over the MMA community before the excitement finally sets in about McGregor’s potential return after nearly three years away.

As the build to UFC 303 begins, McGregor seemingly stays out of trouble while adding to his financial portfolio. McGregor is announced as a part owner of MMA promotion Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships. For the most part, McGregor’s activity on his own social media reflects a man finally ready to compete.

At the end of May, the UFC announced that a news conference for the fight will take place in Ireland at the 3Arena. It sells out in under five minutes, signaling the immense appetite for combat sports’ biggest star to make his return. White boasted that UFC 303 had already reached a $20 million gate and would be the first event to top that number in the promotion’s history.

But less than 24 hours before McGregor is set to appear before his countrymen, the UFC announced that the news conference was canceled with no explanation. Chandler remained optimistic, but the silence from the UFC and McGregor signaled trouble on the horizon.

“Where we are right now, there’s a lot of speculation, but the fight is on,” Chandler said on “The Pivot Podcast” on June 7.

Pessimism shifted to optimism as video surfaced on social media of McGregor training. But that optimism nosedived on June 11 when Ariel Helwani reported that UFC 303 was “very much in limbo” and that the promotion was frantically pursuing a replacement for the main event.

McGregor had never pulled out of a fight due to injury and it had been well documented that he routinely entered the Octagon hampered by various impairments.

After weeks of speculation and unusual radio silence, White posted a video from the War Room at UFC headquarters to confirm everyone’s worst fears.

For the first time in his career, McGregor is forced out of a fight due to an injury — a broken toe he later announces on social media.

The UFC hastily pulled together a replacement main event fight between light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira and former champion Jiří Procházka as part of a major overhaul to the fight card. But make no mistake, this is not a Conor McGregor-led event.

“When you’re in here, if you put in the time in here, you’re gonna get cozy in here,” said McGregor after his loss to Poirier at UFC 257. “I need activity. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business, and that’s the way it is.

“I’ll take me licks.”

With no activity and all the licks being taken, the business of McGregor once again seems stalled out.

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