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'Conor McGregor is not in my plans for the next 10 months'

“I’m not even thinking about Conor,” says Dana White amid uncertainty over what’s next for McGregor.

Eddie Alvarez, Dana White and Conor McGregor UFC president Dana White and lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Source: Tom Hogan/INPHO

UFC PRESIDENT DANA White has reiterated that Conor McGregor will be taking a 10-month break from competing, despite the UFC lightweight champion’s statement to the contrary.

McGregor, who was named RTÉ Sports Person of the Year for 2016, told the national broadcaster in an interview earlier this month that although he’s keen to take some time out, he doesn’t intend for his hiatus to last as long as 10 months.

After defeating Eddie Alvarez last month to become the UFC’s first two-division champion, McGregor — who was stripped of his featherweight title a fortnight later — explained that he was likely to take some time out for two reasons: the impending birth of his first child, and his desire to resolve some financial issues with the UFC’s new owners.

McGregor has repeatedly expressed his frustration at the WME-IMG group for not entering business talks with him since their takeover of the organisation in July. However, according to Dana White, the onus is on McGregor to make the first move.

“When Conor’s ready to talk, he knows where I am,” the UFC president told reporters in Las Vegas yesterday ahead of tomorrow night’s year-ending UFC 207 event.

McGregor has been linked to a lightweight title defence against Khabib Nurmagomedov and a challenge to welterweight champion Tyron Woodley next, but the uncertainty surrounding his future has continued amid speculation over a boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather, as well as potential opportunities with the WWE and in the movie industry.

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts McGregor overcame Eddie Alvarez in November to win the UFC lightweight title. Source: Julio Cortez

White added: “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 — at all. We run a business where we make fights. I know who’s available, 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. That’s it. He’s not in any of our plans for the next 10 months.”

In McGregor’s absence, White confirmed that the UFC attempted to arrange an interim lightweight title bout between Numagomedov and Tony Ferguson, the two leading contenders in the 155lbs division. But according to the UFC president, that fight won’t be taking place as Ferguson priced himself out of the negotiations.

“We were trying to make that fight,” White said. “Tony said he will not do that fight unless he makes the same money that Khabib makes. Khabib has a different deal so that isn’t happening. Count that one out.”

He added: “[Tony Ferguson] has a contract that he just signed, not long ago. I honour every contract, no matter what it is. I get into some shitty deals too. But when you sign a deal, you honour your deal.”

White also confirmed Jose Aldo’s claims that he was in contention for a shot at an interim lightweight title. White said the UFC sought to match Aldo with Nurmagomedov, but that also fell through as Nurmagomedov’s father wants the injury-prone Russian to rest before fighting again.

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Paul Dollery

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