The question is, did Conor McGregor’s code hop to boxing increase the profile of the UFC, or did it lower that profile or otherwise impact the game?
UFC honcho Dana White seems to be happy to have his meal ticket back in the fold, provided, that is, that McGregor does not decide that a stint in the NRL might prove intriguing.
“I’m ready to get back to the UFC and do what I do,” White said with a huge smile at the post-fight press conference in the early hours of the morning after the fight. “I’m not looking to do this again.”
Which begs another question. Does White truly have a voice in the matter of which direction McGregor takes next?
The short answer, the two letter answer is, no.
The UFC was thrown into disarray when its biggest star decided that he could make more money in 30 minutes of duty as a punching target for Floyd Mayweather than he could ever hope to earn in the UFC ring.
The MMA game used to be simple. Fighters fought to determine whether striking, kicking, wrestling of Jiu jitsu was the best route to take, with the eventual outcome being that some combination worked best.
A major appeal of the UFC was that anyone could enter the ring who was willing to take the risk, unlike boxing, where earning a shot against one of the stars required years of credential building.
The writing on the wall should have been evident when the WME-IMG stepped in a purchased the UFC for a figure in the neighbourhood of $5 Billion in May of 2016. The $5 Billion told all the fighters that they no longer had to labour in obscurity for a shot at glory-it announced that there was an exact value to each and every of the 500 contracted MMA fighters.
The purchase by WME-IMG brought stability that the UFC was a viable entity, one that could be promoted and mined for money. The UFC could no longer get away with paying fighters next to nothing.