Conor McGregor’s Return For UFC 303 Falls Into Doubt Among Fans—Here’s What We Know

117
0

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor said in a Monday tweet he would “put on the greatest all-time show in the Octagon” in his upcoming fight against No. 6 lightweight Michael Chandler, an attempt at reassuring fight fans following the postponement of an accompanying press conference Monday that created an air of uncertainty around the highly anticipated bout.

The fight between McGregor and Chandler—scheduled for June 29 in Las Vegas as the main card of UFC 303—was brought into question by worried fans this week after the press conference leading up to it was postponed, prompting an apology from the UFC and McGregor, who said the press conference was “cancelled due to a series of obstacles outside of our control.”

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani said in a Tuesday tweet there was positivity that the fight is still on, though he noted the UFC “sent out feelers” for “a replacement or an entirely new fight” for UFC 303’s main card.

Former featherweight champions Alexander Volkanovski, who has fought above his weight class before, told Australian MMA outlet Submission Radio on Tuesday he is willing to “save the day” as a replacement for the main card despite what would be a short notice fight for him.

During a Wednesday episode of Helwani’s podcast, The MMA Hour, the reporter said there was great positivity and optimism regarding the fight but provided a small caveat, saying, “Do I know what happens tomorrow? No.”

The UFC and Chandler have not made any public statements about the fight following the postponed presser and accompanying rumors of a canceled fight, though Chandler has remained active on social media, posting training photos and a cryptic caption, saying, “If you’re looking for me, I’ll be out in Tennessee. No way out of the life we chose…”

A representative for McGregor and TKO, the parent company of the UFC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Get Forbes Breaking News Text Alerts: We’re launching text message alerts so you’ll always know the biggest stories shaping the day’s headlines. Text “Alerts” to (201) 335-0739 or sign up here.

Part of the hype around McGregor and Chandler’s main card fight revolves around the fact both fighters tend to stray away from grappling, instead favoring stand-up, fisticuff fights. Eight of McGregor’s 10 wins in the UFC have come by way of technical knockout or knockout, while two of Chandler’s four wins have come from the same result.

McGregor’s highly anticipated bout with Chandler will come after nearly three years of inactivity in the UFC. The Irishman, who ranked No. 35 among the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2022, last fought in July 2021, when he broke his leg in a loss against then-No. 1 lightweight Dustin Poirier. McGregor has since stayed busy managing his whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve, and starring in a 2024 “Road House” reboot opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. He also participated as a head coach in the 31st installment of “The Ultimate Fighter” MMA reality show mentoring a team of fighters for fights against a team coached by Chandler.

UFC Needs To Be Transparent About UFC 303: McGregor Vs. Chandler (Forbes)

Conor McGregor, Michael Chandler news conference postponed (ESPN)

[Read More…]