Dana White has responded to reports this week that boxing legend Manny Pacquiao was targeting a 2018 bout with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor
It seems the Filipino Congressman and ‘Fighter of the 2000’s’ is aiming for his own giant payday with a fight against the Dubliner. If this is the case, White may have a few things to say on the matter.
“Conor might never fight again,” White told reporters during a UFC media lunch recently. “The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
“Fighting’s the worst,” White added. “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
While it would not seem likely that a fight between “Pacman” and “The Notorious” would generate anywhere near the buzz or revenue that August’s “Money Fight” with Floyd Mayweather Jr. did, there is still potential to shift a decent number of pay-per-views. While the eight-division world champion is far removed from his prime, he is still a sizeable attraction for many.
“If we can negotiate it [a bout with Conor McGregor], I have no problem. It is OK with both of us,” Pacquiao told newswire service AFP, via Yahoo.com.
When asked by AFP if communication with McGregor’s team had been initiated, Pacquiao claimed that there was a reaching out from his end:
“Initially, but we have not yet had any follow-up conversations,” Pacquiao said.
The news followed up an Instagram post published by Pacquiao on Thanksgiving Day:
“Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend,” Pacquiao wrote beneath a photo of McGregor, adding the tags #realboxingmatch #2018.
The multi-weight boxing world champion had retired in 2016 only to return against former school teacher Jeff Horn in Australia this year. Horn shocked Pacquiao on his way to a controversial decision victory which further highlighted how far the Filipino legend had fallen from his prime.
The trend of boxers calling out McGregor has spiked in recent times, with everyone from Kermit Cintron to even Jeff Horn lobbying for a bout with the Irishman. Oscar De La Hoya, the former pay-per-view king, and ring icon, also claimed that he had been training for a bout with the UFC lightweight champion inside the squared circle:
“You know, I’m competitive,” De La Hoya told Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew. “I still have it in me. I’ve been secretly training. I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever.
“I know I can take out Conor McGregor in two rounds. I’ll come back for that one. Two rounds – just one more (fight). I’m calling him out. Two rounds – that’s all I need. That’s all I’m going to say. You heard it on Golden Boy Radio. Two rounds – that’s all I need.”
McGregor’s hardball tactics of refusing to fight for the UFC have been boosted by the number of boxers who are more than willing to capitalize on his star power for their own means. Dana White is certainly under no illusions and when asked what he thought about the news of Pacquaio chasing his own ‘red panty night’, the UFC President was quick and to the point:
“That would be weird, because (McGregor’s) under contract with us,” White told MMAjunkie. “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever is representing him.”
The man who represents Pacquaio is Bob Arum, a man White has an acrimonious history with. In fact, Arum took a shot at White during the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux bout in New York last night:
Bob Arum on Dana White:
"Who gives a s— with White, he's a piece of s—. He's got a UFC that's cratering and he needs boxing to save himself."
— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellCBS) December 10, 2017
White, upon hearing of the comment, hit back:
“You’ll see, Bob,” White said. “We’ll see at the end. Bob’s the same guy who said the UFC would never work, and the UFC was loosing ‘oodles’ of money, whatever the (expletive) ‘oodles of money’ means. Look at what we’ve done and look at where we are. I mean, come on. At the end of the day, we’ll see who stands where when the smoke clears and the dust settles.
“I’ll give it to him, though. For a (expletive) 95-year-old dude, this guy’s pretty feisty, man. I’ll give it to him. I’ll give him that.”