The Friday Five: October 5th 2018

1.  Conor McGregor Returns On Saturday Night At UFC 229

While money is not Conor McGregor’s motivating factor, he does expect and look forward to making eight figures for his UFC 229 fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“We’re estimating around 3 to 3.5 million [pay-per-view buys], I’d say I’ll close in around the $50 million mark,” McGregor said on Thursday.

“So, for a mixed martial artist to make $50 million from a mixed martial arts bout, it’s quite breathtaking. I have to thank my management stable, Paradigm Sports Management. I’ve got to thank Dana White, I’ve got to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank (Fertitta) who schooled me in the game.

“The new owners…W…what’s the name…WME-IMG? Those guys as well. I haven’t really met them that much, but they’ve been good to me so far — Ari (Emmanuel) and those guys. Life is good.

“To think where we have come from, McGregor told the press on Thursday.  “When I fought Nate Diaz, he was on $20,000 to show and $20,000 to win — the game has gone to so many new heights, so quickly and we’re just trying to keep up. And it’s a great time to be involved in the sport for myself, the fighters, the promoters, for the managers, for the media in attendance, for the fans, for everyone… times are good so let’s enjoy it. Let’s enjoy these momentous occasions,” he said.

2. Dana Thinks UFC 229 Outpaces Mayweather-McGregor

At Thursday’s press conference, Dana White told reporters that Saturday’s UFC 229 is trending higher than Conor McGregor’s 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

White cites that social engagement is at an all-time high for the event, and that the current Pay-Per-View buys are trending higher than he’s ever seen.

“Well, let me put it to you this way: We’re trending between 2.6 and 3 million, right?” White said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “But, everything is trending, killing Mayweather/McGregor – the numbers. I’ll give you an example, one small example: UFC Embedded, the first episode with Mayweather & McGregor, did 800,000 views in 24 hours. This one did 1.7 million in 24 hours. It’s just, all numbers like that are just double what we did on May/Mac. What does that mean for PPV? I don’t know, we’re going to find out.

“The thing that scares me about PPV: All you PPV fans, if you know you’re going to buy the fight? Buy it now,” White warned. “Buy it now. Just go on your TV and order it. Because, what happens is, you get so many people trying to order at the same time, these systems crash. Whether you’re buying it on OTT, or you’re buying it on cable or satellite, do it now. I’m sure you’ve been there before; tried to order it the night of and these guys don’t have their shit together and everything crashes, and you can’t order the fight.”

3.Joe Rogan Is Confused By UFC 230 Main Event Choice

On his Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, the UFC color commentator was speaking with Showtime Analyst Brendan Schaub as both found out the new main event for UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in November.

“What?!” Rogan said. “No offense but I don’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is and I’m the commentator for the UFC.”

“That’s gonna headline Madison Square Garden?!” Schaub said before lamenting that a fight between Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz fora rumored 165-pound title would be scuttled to the co-main event.

“I’ve never heard of her, and I’m not being a d*ck either. I’m just saying, as far as headlining Madison Square Garden, you’ve got some nerve putting this together.”

Eubanks would make her debut in the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where she was set to face off against Nicco Montano to decide the division’s first champion, but Eubanks would miss weight and replaced by Roxanne Modaferri. Eubanks would make her UFC debut in June, with a win over Lauren Murphy.

Montano would be stripped after not making weight at UFC 228, and it was originally going to be Joanna Jedrzejczyk facing mandatory challenger Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title.

4. Eddie Hearn Makes New Offer To Deontay Wilder

Eddie Hearn looked to make the case of his heavyweight Dillian Whyte this week at the WBC convention in Kiev, Ukraine.

Hearn is hoping to have Whyte be the next man up to face who ever walks out of the WBC title showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on December 1st.

And while Dominic Breazeale is in-line to be the “mandatory” challenger for the title, Hearn feels that fight won’t happen for a while.

“I think Dillian needs to challenge Joshua,” Hearn said in an interview regarding the heavyweight championship situation. “We’ve put our case into the WBC but ultimately Breazeale is going to be mandatory, but when is he going to be mandatory? If there’s a rematch of Wilder-Fury, they’d allow that as well. I think if Wilder wins there will be no rematch, but if Fury wins there will be a rematch.”

Hearn would also claim that while he’s championing Whyte, he’s also made a new offer to the current WBC king for an April 13th showdown against Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium.

“We made a new offer yesterday, an improved offer for the 13th of April which this time was a percentage offer, but we’ll see,” he continued. “We asked for a meeting at the beginning of October because my dad [Barry] was in New York and Shelley [Finkel] said no. It’s so frustrating because some people in the public say, ‘You’re ducking Wilder.’ We’re calling them saying can we have a meeting and Shelley will come back saying, ‘Well you don’t want the fight.’

‘Why am asking to meet you in New York? “I’m not doing it for a laugh.”

“He said, ‘Make an offer, and we can have a meeting.’ So I’ve done that, now hopefully we can have a meeting.”

5. McGregor Welcomes Trilogy Fight With Diaz At 165

With talks of a potential 165-pound division, Conor McGregor would be open to not only fighting at that weight class, but also have a third fight with Nate Diaz in that division.

McGregor spoke with Karyn Bryant at the UFC 229 open workouts and mentioned that he would give Diaz a rematch and would even have the fight take place at 165 pounds.

“The game is full of bums,” McGregor said. “Ain’t s**t changed, really, so it’s good to be back. I’ve got that trilogy with Diaz. I will give that man a rematch. He gave me a rematch, so I’ll give him a rematch. [At] 155 [pounds], I’d imagine, but we’ll see because maybe we could spearhead a 165-pound division. I do believe we should go 145, 155, 165, 175, 185, even 195. Why not? There’s more belts.”

The series between McGregor and Diaz is currently tied 1-1 with both fights selling more than a million pay-per-view units each. Diaz won the first fight, but McGregor picked up a decision win in the rematch.

The prospect of more belts is alluring to McGregor, but before any talks of a third fight with Nate Diaz happens, McGregor will have to first fight UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The two will face off in the main event of UFC 229 where McGregor can become a two-time lightweight champion.

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