UFC president Dana White finally has come to an agreement with his biggest star to promote a boxing match that figures to be the most lucrative bout in combat sports history.
Now comes the hard part.
White said Wednesday night during an appearance on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” that he had come to terms with Conor McGregor on a deal for the UFC lightweight champion to box Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor confirmed the news on his website late Wednesday.
“It is an honor to sign this record-breaking deal alongside my partners Zuffa LLC, The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Paradigm Sports Management,” McGregor said. “The first and most important part of this historic contract has now officially been signed off on. Congratulations to all parties involved.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 18, 2017
White now must strike a deal with Mayweather’s team. He’s expected to be represented by Al Haymon.
There is no guarantee the fight will happen despite all the money the parties stand to share.
“I’m not saying the fight will happen,” White said. “I got one side done. Now it’s time to work on the other. If we can come to a deal with Haymon and Mayweather, the fight’s going to happen.”
McGregor couldn’t help but take a shot at Mayweather by refusing to say his name.
“We now await Al Haymon and his boxer’s signature in the coming days,” McGregor wrote in his statement.
White told the Review-Journal on Saturday in Dallas after UFC 211 that he didn’t plan to spend much more time on the fight if he couldn’t finish at least McGregor’s side in the next couple of days.
That is now done. White also said Saturday he didn’t plan on dedicating much time to pursuing a deal with Mayweather if talks didn’t go smoothly. White said he thinks if the fight doesn’t get done this year, it will never happen.
Mayweather, 40, has been retired since a win over Andre Berto in September 2015. He told reporters in London on Wednesday he would only return for the lucrative payday of a fight against McGregor.
“There’s only one fight that makes business sense,” Mayweather said. “I came out of retirement because I’m a businessman, and I want to give the world what they want to see.
“McGregor’s a fighter. I’m a fighter. This is what the fight fans and MMA fans want to see.”
White recently indicated the target date for the fight was Sept. 16, but a major bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has been announced for that night.
McGregor did not indicate the terms of his deal. White did not respond to a text message.
Contact Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.