White: McGregor Will Be Out Until After May
For the last two years, Conor McGregor has been impossibly active for a star of his magnitude. After three fights in 2016, and five in the past eighteen months, the now two-division champion is going to be taking an absence from the sport due to his incoming first child.
McGregor officially announced the news after defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, saying that he would take time off while his girlfriend Dee Devlin had their first child. UFC President Dana White reiterated to the LA Times that McGregor will be out until at least May, when the baby is due.
"He won’t fight before May,” White said. “His girl [Dee Devlin] gets super stressed out when he fights. He doesn’t want her having any of that stress while she’s pregnant. He’s good. He should take time off. He’s been fighting nonstop. Nothing wrong with him taking time off. It’s good for him and her and it’s good for the baby.”
For McGregor, the time off is well-deserved. But his upcoming absence and the increasingly fleeting presence of Ronda Rousey calls into question the UFC’s strategy for 2017. This year was another record-breaking one for the promotion, yet the case would be very different if you were to erase the three shows that McGregor headlined. While McGregor is out until at least May, it seems unlikely that he would be back in the cage right away after his first child’s birth. The UFC could be without their biggest star until summer or early fall.
According to White, he and the new UFC owners WME/IMG don’t buy into the pressure of continuing the company’s successful run without their two biggest stars.
“We’ve done this for 16 years, with a lot of big stars who couldn’t fight or moved on – Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre,” White said. “There’s not a day in this office I don’t get the question, ‘What are we going to do about this guy?’ Every day I turn around, I’ve got a reporter saying we’ve peaked.
“If I listened to any of that … , we probably would be done.
“But I can tell you, we’re just getting started. Ari [Emanuel] is a bright, fresh-eyed guy who’s just getting into this business, and he’s in love with it.”