Conor McGregor's legion of fans have every reason to feel like they're in no man's land when it comes to UFC 197. All signs point to McGregor vs Dos Anjos in Las Vegas on March 5th. However, for one reason or another, the UFC have been surprisingly quiet. And that's far from ideal when you have Credit Union loans to apply for and whatnot.
It's quite possible that UFC 197 will not see the kind of travelling Irish support that we've become accustomed to when McGregor takes to the Octagon. With UFC 200 and all those possibilities around the corner, and UFC 194 so fresh in the memory, the realities of making the trip to Vegas will surely begin to take their toll. However, that's not to say there won't still be a significant number of Irish fans making the trip but, before that can happen, they're going to need a bit of confirmation and that's taking quite a while coming.
For all intents and purposes, it was supposed to come on Sunday night during half time of the Fox broadcast of Washington vs Green Bay. John Kavanagh had everyone on tenterhooks only for the confirmation to be conspicuous in its absence.
Almost inevitably, that led on to reports and conflicting reports about the reasons behind the lack of confirmation. Reports first emerged from Brazil that McGregor was holding up the deal in an effort to ring out more money for himself.
That was denied by the McGregor camp with suggestions then coming that it was Dos Anjos who was looking to increase his fight purse. One way or another, McGregor was going to be there on March 5th.
well @rowdyowenroddy just put it perfectly. "we'll be there march 5th, doesnt matter who is opponent." that's all we can say #UFC197
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) January 11, 2016
Those conflicting reports seemed to cool down somewhat as the sun set on this side of the world and according to Ariel Helwani, 'all parties involved' in the deal were on board.
Correct. I'm told it's not. I was assured by multiple people too. All parties involved on board. https://t.co/BwghuXFzbn
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 11, 2016
So what's the hold up? Well it seems it may in fact be issues with the venue that needs to be sorted before the event can be announced. Initial reports of the McGregor vs Dos Anjos fight suggested that although Las Vegas was likely, the precise venue was less than certain.
The Las Vegas Review Journal are now reporting that a change to Tuesday's meeting of the Nevada Athletic Commission would suggest that a March 5th date is on the cards for the MGM Grand. According to the report, a proposal to hold a boxing event that night will now not be heard with a source stating that the UFC put in a request on Monday to hold an event at the same venue on that same date. The UFC's proposal will now be added to agenda for today's meeting instead.
Given the timing of those events that would suggest that the venue is at the heart of the hold up on the official announcement. Without a venue finalised, the UFC certainly wouldn't have announced the fight, and certainly not during half time of one of the biggest NFL games of the year. However, with that proposal now put forward to the NAC, it would seem that the final hurdle is the rubber stamping of the venue at today's meeting.
So, that means the venue is set, the pay for both fighters is set and all that's left is for that final confirmation to come and fans can start booking those flights.