LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor’s seat was vacant, and so now is his spot headlining the big UFC 200 card this summer.
The Irish fighter was a no-show at a press conference Friday promoting the card, and UFC President Dana White said he would not meet Nate Diaz in a rematch on top of the July 9 card in Las Vegas.
“You have to show up to promote the fight,” White said. “It’s part of the job. It’s what we do here.”
Not to be outdone, McGregor tweeted that he respected the fact other fighters traveled to the press conference “but not everyone up there made the company ($)400 million the last 8 months.”
The dispute over promotional duties means UFC’s biggest card of the year will be without McGregor, the wildly popular fighter who lost to Diaz last month in a major upset. Diaz indicated he might not fight, either, though White said he was looking for an opponent for him.
“If it doesn’t happen I’m going on vacation,” Diaz said.
White left a seat on the dais vacant at a press conference at the MGM Grand, though McGregor made it clear earlier this week that he wouldn’t be attending. McGregor posted on Facebook that he couldn’t afford the time he would need to leave his training camp in Iceland for a series of promotional appearances for the card.
But White noted the fight was nearly three months away, and that UFC is spending $10 million to promote the card and needed McGregor to participate in the promotion.
“People (other fighters on the card) came from Poland and Brazil. Is that fair?” White asked. “It sets a bad precedent. These guys came in from all over the world and they’re here.”
McGregor had asked for a quick rematch with Diaz, after moving up in weight to lose to him in a fight he dominated early. The two signed contracts, but McGregor disrupted plans when he refused to travel to Las Vegas from Iceland to promote the bout.
White said he is not angry with McGregor and expects him to fight again, just not on the landmark UFC 200 card that will be held at the new T-Mobile arena on the Las Vegas Strip. He said McGregor could fight the winner of the bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, which is on the UFC 200 card.
Also on the card is Miesha Tate, who upset Holly Holm last month and will meet Brazil’s Amanda Nunes. White said it is also possible that light heavyweight Jon Jones could meet Daniel Cormier on the card if Jones wins his fight Saturday against Ovince Saint Preux.
McGregor is the biggest pay-per-view attraction the UFC has, but White said the card will have plenty of attractive fights. He said he understands fans want to see McGregor on UFC 200, but that he had to take a stand.
“It’s an unpopular decision, but it’s the right decision,” White said.
The press conference took place before the weigh-in for UFC 197, which features Jones vs. Saint Preux for the light heavyweight title and Demetrious Johnson against Henry Cejudo in a flyweight title bout.