Conor McGregor responds to UFC by obtaining boxing licence

UFC fighter gains licence by state of California but Floyd Mayweather bout unlikely

Conor McGregor would not stay quiet for long after the UFC stripped him of one of the two title belts he hoped to defend simultaneously. Just days after the organisation said it was taking away his featherweight title belt, McGregor replied in the most typical way: by obtaining a boxing licence.

On Wednesday, the California state athletic commission confirmed that McGregor has obtained a boxing licence in the state. This presumably paves the way for the fight with Floyd Mayweather that McGregor has talked about for months.

However, the chances of a McGregor-Mayweather bout taking place are remote. Talk of that fight first surfaced last spring when McGregor was pulled from the UFC 200 card for not doing the pre-fight promotions demanded by the UFC.

Once his rematch for Nate Diaz was rescheduled for August’s UFC 202, the Mayweather discussions went away. On, Wednesday, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe scoffed at the idea of a McGregor-Mayweather fight, telling ESPN: “It’s all a game. It’s all calculated to get more fans.”


Ellerbe said: “It’s another creative way to create more interest. Nobody is mad, but it’s a con job trying to make people think this is real – and even mentioning him and [MAYWEATHER]in the same breath is disrespectful, completely disrespectful.”

Still, McGregor does have the licence, and it is ballast he can use against the UFC as he plots a fight for next year. Although UFC president Dana White had repeatedly said McGregor would not be able to defend the featherweight belt he won last December and the lightweight title he won from Eddie Alvarez earlier this month, McGregor carried on as if he was going to keep both. He even went as far as to have UFC officials grab another fighter's belt to replicate the featherweight title as he paraded around the ring.

Ironically, that belt belonged to welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who happened to be standing closest to the frantic official looking for an extra belt that night. After defeating Alvarez, McGregor hinted at wanting to go after Woodley next, and be able to to say he is the champion in three weight classes. He has also talked about a third fight with Diaz after the two split their first two bouts.

After the Alvarez fight, White said: “I’ve never dealt with anyone like this kid.” He added that McGregor is the only fighter who will step out of the cage following one of his bouts and tell White exactly who he wants to fight next.

McGregor seemed to have little interest in defending the featherweight title against Jose Aldo, the man he knocked out in 13 seconds to win the title back in December. That the UFC vacated the championship, giving it back to Aldo, who had been the interim belt-holder, was not a surprise. But the act wasn’t going to go without some kind of response.

McGregor isn’t expected to fight until May at the soonest, with his longtime girlfriend expecting a baby early next year. While he could set up a boxing match in California with either Mayweather or someone else, his name and fame remains the biggest in MMA fighting. And after every threat to leave in the past has ended with him signing on for another UFC bout, it will be hard to see this latest move as anything but a maneuver to wrestle more leverage from that organisation.

Ellerbe said: “He got a boxing licence. Congratulations to him. Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to, but he has a boss, and his name is (UFC president) Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC, and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can’t because his bosses wouldn’t allow that to happen.

“The brass [FROM WME-IMG]who recently purchased the UFC are very smart people, and they would never – and put this in bold caps – let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather, because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.”