Eddie Alvarez, the man who Conor McGregor defeated to become UFC lightweight champion, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding his former title and it's perhaps the soundest theory we've heard yet.
The controversy and confusion surrounding the UFC lightweight championship started just over 2 weeks ago when UFC President, Dana White announced Tony Ferguson (formerly the Interim Champion) as "the UFC lightweight champion" and said that the winner of Ferguson's April 7th fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov will "be the champion".
The problem, of course, is that Conor McGregor has not officially been stripped of the title. Famed MMA journalist, Ariel Helwani even went as far as to report that White "flat-out refused" to answer any questions as to whether McGregor has been stripped of the title.
Dana White flat out refuses to say Conor McGregor has been stripped but does say the 223 main event is for the undisputed title. Asked if he has been stripped or not, White says, next question.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 19, 2018
So as it stands, according to the UFC, both Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson are BOTH the UFC lightweight champion. How can two men be champion? There can be no doubt UFC are playing some sort of game here and former 155lb champion, Eddie Alvarez has offered perhaps the best explanation yet as to what they are up to. Speaking to Helwani on The MMA Hour, Alvarez cited the three failures the UFC have had thus far in staging Khabib/Ferguson.
What’s going on is that this fight is 0 for 3. They’re not going to strip Conor of a belt and then have a vacant title for a fight that’s 0 for 3.
. This is UFC's fourth attempt at making the fight happen.
They have not been able to make this fight. Every time they book it, they’re not able to make the fight. Either Khabib gets hurt, Tony gets hurt or someone gets hurt, so I think what the UFC is thinking — and this is just a theory, an opinion on my point — is that this fight is not going to happen. There’s a very unlikely chance that it’s going to happen, so they’re not going to strip the champion, then have this fight fall through and then not have a champion.
It makes total sense. But, in trying to save face in the long run they are making a bit of a circus of their lightweight division in the short term, although given the fact that their champion hasn't fought in the promotion since winning the title in 2016 and that his one fight in 2017 wasn't even in the sport, one could argue the division was a circus already.
Alvarez goes on to add that he thinks he knows exactly when the timing of the surely certain title strip will come:
So I think the day of the weigh-ins, they’re going to strip [McGregor], it’s going to make real big news and then they’re going to have a title fight, and that’s also going to make big news. So it’s going to make for a lot of publicity in one day. That’s my theory.
Although a lot of fans would love to see Conor McGregor finally defend a title, against either Khabib or Ferguson, we spoke with up and coming UFC star, Darren Till a few weeks ago at the launch of EA Sports UFC 3 and he thinks that not only will we never see McGregor defend the title, we'll never see the Irishman fight in the UFC ever again.
Well yeah, he should be stripped yeah, why not? He's off boxing, making money, he's off doing this, doing that, you know and he's still the champ it's a bit wrong isn't it? Conor's done well, mate but you can't just fucking win a belt and not defend it. So he's gotta defend it or give it up. I don't know if he's gonna come back or not mate, I can't see it meself.
Meanwhile, on the McGregor front all signs would seem to point to a sequel to last year's massively disappointing "super fight" between him and Floyd Mayweather, this time in an octagon with MMA rules. Mayweather posted a teasing video on Twitter of him entering an octagon during a training routine in the gym, to which McGregor responded.
Hahahaha very good. Keep up the good work my son.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 30, 2018
Be prepared for another big run of theatrical, scripted nonsense from those two business buddies then.