It may be the be all and end all of MMA at this moment in time but Conor McGregor could leave the comforting and constraining bosom of the UFC in the not too distant future. That's according to the man who broke the news of McGregor vs Dos Anjos at UFC 197.
The UFC is a blessing and a curse for fighters. They've built a platform for MMA which means that the best fighters can earn a good living from the sport. However, the business model that they rely upon also means that fighter's incomes are very much capped.
While the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya have raked in the cash through their own promotion companies, UFC fighters are at the mercy of their contracts with the organisation and they have little option for a decent payday outside the UFC should they decide to play hardball over their contracts.
Take for example, Aljamain Sterling. The number five ranked bantamweight has been open about his unhappiness with the fact that his latest contract offer was a laughable 'twenty and twenty', meaning he'd earn $20,000 for stepping into the Octagon and $20,000 for a win. The numbers shoot up significantly when you get to the level that Conor McGregor is at but not to the extent that the Dubliner would want.
McGregor's expected payday at UFC 197 has been calculated and he could earn as much as $8 million. Not a bad night's work but when you compare that fight, potentially the biggest of his career, to Floyd Mayweather's final bout against Andre Berto, you see where the problem lies. With an extremely low PPV rate (as low as 400,000) for a Mayweather fight, he's still thought to have earned $32 million for the last fight of his 49-0 career.
Quite the difference when McGregor 1 million+ PPV rate is taken into account. Before you even go in to the Reebok deal and the hamstringing of fighters to bump up their purse with sponsorship money, the contracts simply aren't equating to the interest from viewers when you compare it to boxing. Which leads us on to the possibility of McGregor making a break from the UFC in the not too distant future.
Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter, who was the first to break the news of McGregor vs Dos Anjos at UFC 197, has been speaking to the Weigh-In on Canada's The Sports Network and he had some very interesting things to say about the featherweight champ's future in the organisation.
Conor McGregor does not plan on being in the UFC for very much longer. I don't know if it's going to be this year or next year but Conor McGregor's end goal is to promote his own fights. Now whether that is in conjunction with the UFC or 'McGregor Promotions', I do not know.
He's not going to fight in Croke Park with the UFC. The UFC is not going to run Croke Park. He has been telling people that he will run (a fight in) Croke Park when he's out on his own.
It may sound unlikely but as one reddit user pointed out, McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited was set up and registered in Ireland in July 2014 not long after his win over Diego Brandao.
As things stand, going outside the UFC would seem like career suicide. They aren't going to allow him to co-promote fights and take a sizeable chunk of that profit. It's not going to happen at this moment in time. But, if he keeps winning and keeps new fans rolling in, the balance of power could conceivably shift.
Whether it be making a break entirely or strong arming Dana White and co. into working with him, it's certainly conceivable that we could see McGregor the CEO as opposed to McGregor the UFC employee at some point in the next few years.
You can listen to the discussion from the 9.00 mark below.