Life is good for UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. He’s making millions of dollars per fight and may end up eclipsing Ronda Rousey as the promotion’s biggest superstar by the time 2016 ends. Life also becomes good for the guys that fight Conor. There’s no bigger money fight in the UFC than the outspoken Irishman, and the extra pay-per-views he sells translates into a much fatter purse for his opponent.
“Nate, congratulations, you’re rich now!” he told late replacement Nate Diaz at a press conference earlier this week. “How does it feel to be a millionaire now? It’s nice, right?”
McGregor and his fans even have a name for the day his opponents sign a contract to fight him: red panty night.
“I can make you rich,” he said at a press event back in 2015. “I can change your bum life. When you sign to fight me, it’s a celebration. You ring back home, you ring, ‘Baby, we done it. We’re rich. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties. We’re rich, baby.’”
“So don’t say you would not take that fight, cause you would take that fight just like everyone else up here would take that fight if it was offered, regardless of belts or any of that shit. I’m the money fight in all male divisions, so f**k everybody else up here.”
And a number of fighters were willing to take that fight. According to UFC president Dana White, they had four guys who said yes to replacing Rafael Dos Anjos against McGregor: Urijah Faber, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, and eventual ‘red panty night’ winner Nate Diaz.
Fighters the UFC approached that turned the McGregor fight down: Jose Aldo (not in shape to fight on such short notice) and Frankie Edgar (rehabbing a torn groin). But don’t let Frankie hear you say he “turned the fight down.”
“I didn’t just pull my groin, I tore it,” Edgar told MMA Fighting. “I sent [UFC president] Dana and everyone in the UFC my MRI. I’m even more pissed that Dana’s insinuating that I ‘refused’ to take this fight, which is bulls**t. Just because they asked me doesn’t mean they were going to give it to me, because guess what: in July they asked me to take the [UFC 189] fight on 15 day’s notice, which of course I accepted, and I still didn’t get it.”
Someone is upset they didn’t get those red panties. And with McGregor bumped from 155 pounds to 170 for his fight with Diaz, it seems less and less likely that the Irishman will return to featherweight to defend his title. That not only leaves Edgar unable to fight McGregor, it keeps Edgar from fighting for the 145 pound belt at all. At least until the UFC decides to take it off McGregor, not something I can see them doing any time soon.