Advertisement

With two belts, Conor McGregor doubles down on UFC: ‘I’m aware of my worth’

Share

Conor McGregor has the two golden belts.

Now he wants the golden ticket.

By knocking down Eddie Alvarez five times en route to a second-round knockout finish at Madison Square Garden early Sunday morning, McGregor became the UFC’s new lightweight champion and the first man in organization history to simultaneously wear two belts.

Afterward, the busy-minded featherweight champion from Ireland was quick to dwell, not on how he won the fight, but on the dollars he says should be coming his way as a result of the figures he’s keenly aware of.

The live gate for the UFC’s first New York card since a years-long-ban on mixed martial arts was lifted in April was a record $17.7 million, prompting UFC President Dana White to crack, “Jesus is going to have to fight the devil to break that record.”

Advertisement

By generating another expected high in pay-per-view sales that could hit 2 million, McGregor’s yearly total would surpass 5 million total buys and make him the highest-earning calendar-year fighter ever (including boxing).

Add in the fact that Beverly Hills talent agency WME-IMG purchased the company for $4 billion in July, and McGregor pounced just as fast as his fists did on Alvarez’s head over his need for more cash.

“They need to come talk to me now. No one’s talked to me as a businessman since the sale’s happened. That’s not good,” McGregor said. “I mean, who owns the company now? People, celebrities, have shares in the company. Conan O’Brien owns the UFC now.”

McGregor enhanced his argument by noting his girlfriend, Dee Devlin, is pregnant with their child, due in May.

“Where’s my share? Where’s my equity? If I’m the one that’s making this, they’ve got to come talk to me. I’ve got family on the way. I’ve got both belts. I want equal share -- what I deserve, what I’ve earned.

“I feel I’ve about worn the previous contract. When I’m looking at what they’re taking in, so you want me to stick around and help to continue to push the company, bring me on board. For real. I need to be set for life from this, with a stake in the company.”

So put off the talk about who McGregor, 28, will fight next in the octagon.

While a trilogy fight against Nate Diaz at lightweight makes sense for Brooklyn’s UFC 209 – a fitting tie to Diaz’s Stockton area code – and a date with unbeaten (24-0) No. 2 lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov is appetizing, there’s a negotiating-table battle to take on first.

McGregor said he was considering not fighting until his child was born, originally believing the due date was in March, until being told at his post-fight news conference that it’s May.

Regardless, he’s pressing for peace of financial mind.

“I’m aware of my worth. I’m coming for mine now if you want me back,” McGregor said. “Whoever owns this … give me the real slice. That’s what I’ve earned.”

The UFC 205 television buys should allow McGregor to boast four of the top five pay-per-views in company history, as he became just one of seven fighters who have fought in three divisions.

Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley fought to a draw with contender Stephen Thompson on Saturday and is headed for an immediate rematch with Thompson next year, UFC President Dana White said.

But Woodley said he’d like to fight McGregor – who met Diaz twice this year at the welterweight limit -- and after McGregor’s featherweight belt couldn’t be found for a post-fight photo-op, Woodley handed over his for the shot.

“Maybe that’s a sign of things to come,” McGregor (21-3) said.“I feel good at all [weights], I dominate ‘em.”

With exacting maneuvers and rapid hand speed, he dominated Philadelphia’s Alvarez (28-5), knocking him down three times in the first round and then finishing him in the second with a combination of punches to the jaw and right ear.

“I saw it so clearly, so consistently until it’s here: reality,” McGregor said.

Other UFC 205 ramifications included Cuban middleweight Yoel Romero getting a title shot against Orange County trained champion Michael Bisping (perhaps as early as the Jan. 21 card at Honda Center), and former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate retiring following her loss to Raquel Pennington.

Women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk won a unanimous decision against Polish countrywoman Karolina Kowalkiewicz, but was struck hard by punches in the fourth round and required hospitalization, where she was cleared. White said he’d like Kowalkiewicz to fight top-ranked Brazilian Claudia Gadelha next.

Before McGregor addressed reporters, White did, softening from his prior position that McGregor will have to surrender one of his belts.

“Conor’s special,” he said. “I’ve never dealt with anybody like this kid on so many different levels. I’m going to let him enjoy this night and we’ll talk business later.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire


Advertisement