WELL, THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG…
Conor McGregor’s Featherweight Championship reign was officially put to an end on a show viewed by a small fraction of the viewers that saw him win it and was done so in order to save a show that is likely to be seen by even fewer.
In between fights on last night’s UFC Fight Night show from Melbourne, Australia on FS1, announcers Jon Anik and Dan Hardy shared the news that Conor McGregor has “relinquished” (UFC’s words) his Featherweight Championship, and that the man he beat last December in 13 seconds, Jose Aldo, is now considered the undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion.
The “undisputed” part of that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, though, as Aldo’s championship status will be in near immediate dispute as the UFC 206 main event between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will now be a five-round main event for the Interim Featherweight Championship. This comes after news broke late last week that Daniel Cormier had pulled out of the planned main event against Anthony Johnson in order to undergo hernia surgery.
Considering the hype and fanfare that went into McGregor winning two UFC titles over the course of 11 months, and how vocal he was about wanting to enjoy his status as double-champion, one would have expected McGregor to have a more active role in the announcement that he would be forgoing one of his championships. In the end, though, it was UFC’s call.
So UFC 206 has a new main event and one of the great individual achievements in UFC history won’t be fully seen through.
It’s a shame McGregor was stripped in this manner, seemingly without his input. It doesn’t seem worth it to do it so abruptly in the middle of an FS1 show to “save” a show that was probably going to do poorly in the first place and is worse off with this new main event.
The plight of UFC 206 is largely a product of UFC’s greed in not coming to terms with George St-Pierre and also their over-zealousness in loading up the UFC 205 card at the expense of the next 2-3 months of big shows. Considering that the UFC 205 numbers are coming back below many’s expectations, that looks to have been a misplay on UFC’S part in hindsight. UFC 206 will probably be a fun show to watch, but I don’t see it doing above 200,000 buys – certainly not enough to warrant stripping McGregor in the manner they did. It was likely inevitable, but I would rather have seen it done in a more meaningful way.
As for those left in the Featherweight Division, it will take a long time for them to come out from McGregor’s shadow, especially as long as Aldo is on top.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Robert Whittaker took home two post-fight bonuses after his first round knockout of Derek Brunson last night. Whittaker and Brunson took the fight of the night prize and Whittaker also got a performance of the night bonus. The other performance bonus went to Tyson Pedro for his come from behind submission of Khalil Rountree. Whittaker gets $100,000 while Brunson and Pedro each get $50,000.
-Kyle Noke announced his retirement after an uninspired performance at last night’s event, losing a one-sided decision to Omari Akhmedov.
-Robert Whittaker showed interest in a fight with Gegard Mousasi at last night’s post fight press conference.
-Wilson Reis vs. Ulka Sasaki is on tap for UFC 208 on Jan. 21 from Los Angeles.
-Matt Schnell will step in for an injured Alejandro Perez to fight Rob Font at the TUF 24 finale this Saturday in Las Vegas.
-Patricky Pitbull has pulled out of his Bellator 167 fight with Derek Campos. The Dec. 3 show will now be headlined by Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Taimanglo.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/26: Conor McGregor reportedly will be stripped of a title, GSP, Fedor, Miesha, Overeem (w/Cervantes Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)