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Dana White’s Past Ensures No Future For Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather

The rumored fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor is closer than ever. Last week, McGregor signed the proposed contract for the fight. This week, Dana White plans to sit down with Mayweather and his camp to get his signature on a contract.

Good luck with that.

Dana White talks a very big game. He has every reason to do so. He helped take the UFC from almost nothing to a billion dollar company. But he made a lot of mistakes along the way. As a MMA/UFC fan since 2002, I’ve seen the multiple mistakes Dana has made. And I’ve seen just how many times he’s failed to deliver on a big promise.

That’s why I don’t believe Mayweather and McGregor will ever happen. Dana has failed many times to put together a big fight in the UFC with two fighters that he has under contract. Now, he’s supposed to put together a fight with Floyd Mayweather, a guy who is notorious for not caving to the demands of others? Yeah, good luck.

Here are Dana’s two biggest failures and why it’s a bad sign for his chances at putting together Mayweather vs. McGregor.

Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre

This could have been done on no less than three occasions. The first would have been at the end of 2009. Anderson Silva, the 185-pound champion, had just knocked out former 205-pound champion Forrest Griffin in spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, a month earlier, Georges St-Pierre, the 170-pound champion, defended his belt against top contender Thiago Alves. Both fighters had cleaned out their division. They were the consensus best two fighters in the world. The fight should have happened.

But, it didn’t. Silva went on to fight Demian Maia in a lackluster fight that had White walking out of the building in the middle of it. A month earlier, St-Pierre defeated Dan Hardy, an unworthy challenger who was dominated for 25 minutes. Instead of putting together the biggest fight of all-time, we got two noncompetitive and laughable main events.

The second time would have been in 2013. Silva, still the 185-pound champion, had just defeated Stephan Bonnar at 205 pounds in October. Keep these things in mind. Silva was the 185-pound champion and had to constantly move up to 205 to find people to fight. In November, St-Pierre returned from a knee injury to defeat Carlos Condit. Once again, the fight could have happened in summer 2013.

Instead, St-Pierre fought Nick Diaz, who was coming off a loss, in a manufactured grudge fight and Silva’s decline started as he went on to lose to Chris Weidman. Had they fought each other instead of Diaz and Weidman, it still would have been the biggest fight ever. The two fighters still would have been at the top of their game had they met in 2013. They were still looked at as the two best fighters in the sports, and by this point, they were considered the two best of all-time. They were also still on incredible winning streaks and looked unchallenged.

The fight was still a real possibility this year. Silva has been active since his one-year suspension ended in February 2016, while St-Pierre declared his intentions to return from retirement earlier this year. Silva is 42 years old and is 1-4-1 in his last six fights, while St-Pierre is 36 and hasn’t fought since 2013. The fight would not have had the same intrigue or luster, but it was still a fight between two of the best ever. Instead, White opted to book St-Pierre against current 185-pound champion Michael Bisping, leaving Silva to do a lot of complaining.

Three instances Dana could have booked the biggest fight of all-time between the two best fighters in the history of the sport. Instead, he booked them in separate bouts against inferior competition. Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao happened years too late, but at least it happened despite all of the roadblocks. There were almost no roadblocks preventing St-Pierre vs. Silva. It didn’t happen because Dana failed to make it happen.

No Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest MMA heavyweight ever. But he’s never fought in the UFC. He started his career in PRIDE where he competed until the company was purchased by the UFC in 2007.

If he thought dealing with Fedor’s people was tough, that will be child’s play compared to how Mayweather negotiates.

Many PRIDE fighters moved to the UFC, but not Fedor. His contract had expired with PRIDE and thus he wasn’t included in the merger. With the UFC being the only major game in town, it appeared that Fedor signing with the company was a done deal.

However, Dana couldn’t get it done. He’ll blame the fact that Fedor’s management was tough to deal with. That Fedor’s demands were outrageous and that he wasn’t going to cater to those needs. While it may be true, it’s something to keep in mind when discussing how Dana will deal with Mayweather and his camp. If he thought dealing with Fedor’s people was tough, that will be child’s play compared to how Mayweather negotiates.

Dana not only failed to sign Fedor in 2007, he failed to sign him in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Four times he was negotiating with the greatest heavyweight of all-time and four times he failed to get him to agree to a deal.

These two instances are the two biggest reasons why I won’t believe Mayweather vs. McGregor is happening until both guys are in the ring. There are plenty of other smaller reasons, but the fact that Dana White is the one trying to put this thing together is worrisome. He couldn’t put the biggest fight of all time together in his own organization, now he’s going to put together the biggest box office boxing fight of all-time together? He couldn’t sign a free agent despite being the biggest game in town, now he’s supposed to sign Floyd Mayweather with almost no leverage in the situation?

The fight not happening won’t be Dana’s fault as I never thought it was a real possibility in the first place. But him trying to put it together makes it all the less likely.

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