If ever you needed proof of just how much influence Conor McGregor has over the UFC then one picture has just about summed it up perfectly. His biggest bout over the pay that's owed to fighters may well be coming down the tracks but for the moment, the featherweight champ can relax in the knowledge that he has his employers dangling from a string when it comes to some of the more superficial aspects of life in the UFC.
Speaking at the first press conference to kick off the hype for what is now UFC 196, McGregor let it be known that he wasn't too keen on the official poster that the UFC marketing department had come up with.
Where is my damn belt? Where are all these historic images? These are posters that will be looked back on long after it’s all said and done and you’ve got to look back on that absolute garbage. So you know, I think I might have to go into that department because they must be getting comfortable in that poster department. They wanna get their act together and start doing their damn job.
Here's the poster in question.
McGregor contended that the UFC was missing a trick by not promoting the fight like they had with Georges St-Pierre vs BJ Penn back at UFC 94. That was billed as a 'battle of champions' with both men holding belts at the time. Given that it's a similar situation this time around, McGregor wanted similar treatment and judging by this giant billboard in Las Vegas, he's got his way right down to the 'champions vs champion' tagline.
— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) February 3, 2016
All you can do is applaud. For all the bluster, it was fairly obvious that McGregor was just throwing out nonsense to see what would stick. He's hardly losing sleep over a poster but nonetheless he made it a big deal and his wish was soon granted. If ever there was any doubt about his status as the promotion's golden boy, all you need to do is look at that image.