At the UFC 205 pre-fight news conference, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor tried to engage in a steel chair match with lightweight Eddie Alvarez. UFC president Dana White broke it up, and discussed the incident afterward during Q&A session hosted by Jim Rome on SiriusXM Rush Ch. 93 (replay available on SiriusXM On Demand).
“Conor was in the middle of saying something, so I was looking at him – and the chair went flying behind him,” said White as transcribed by Matt Erickson for MMAjunkie. “I thought that (Alvarez) threw the chair. But my guy has video footage and we looked at it. He was just fired up and just pushed the chair out of the way, and it just happened to slide across the floor. So Conor picks the chair up over his head like he’s gonna throw it at him. And I’m like, ‘Conor, do not throw this chair. Do not throw this chair.’ So I’m trying to stop it. These chairs are like 15 pounds – they’re heavy metal chairs. He could’ve cut his finger. Anything could’ve happened. I’ve got to get some plastic lawn furniture out there at these press conferences now.
“He says to me, ‘What do you think they would’ve charged me for a chair?’ Millions of dollars, I’ll tell you that right now, because the fight probably wouldn’t have happened. This is the first time we’ve been in New York and dealt with the New York State Athletic Commission.”
So does McGregor get special treatment?
“For me to say ‘no’ would be ridiculous – of course he does,” said White. “I respect this guy so much as a fighter, and there’s give and take in this business. It just can’t be take-take on either side. There’s give and take in every relationship. This guy has given, given, given. When we’re looking down the barrel of a fight being canceled, this guy steps up and takes any kind of fight. He deserves something back. So when he wants something, there’s give and take and I do it. A lot of these guys want, want, want, but don’t want to give back in return. So it’s that kind of relationship.”
“When people ask me if he’s difficult to deal with, yeah – he’s friggin’ 20 minutes late again today to a press conference. And he says crazy stuff. But much like anyone who has kids, you pick and choose your battles. Him saying, ‘I’m not coming to the press conference.’ Then guess what? ‘You’re not fighting on UFC 200.’ You can’t not show up to a press conference. It’s the most important day of the week other than the weigh-ins and the fight – you can’t miss it. That was worth fighting to me.
“But all this other stuff, like he’s 20 minutes late – believe me, I have guys up his ass wherever he’s at trying to rip him out of the room and get him to the press conference. The media today was like, ‘He’s 15 minutes late – what are you gonna do?’ I’m gonna sit here and wait for him like the rest of you. What do you want me to do? There’s only so many battles you can fight. I think it’s his thing: ‘Everybody will wait for me.’ The one thing nobody has is time, and it’s such a slap in the face. I get it. He’s the king of mental warfare, and he wants to mess with his opponent. But these fans took time off work to come see this press conference. The media’s there. The networks have a time they go on. You have to respect other people’s time. It’s a respect thing. He just doesn’t do it.”
“Conor is definitely a force. I’ve never seen anything like this kid. The thing that makes him the most special athlete that I’ve ever worked with is that if Eddie Alvarez fell out tonight, Conor would say, ‘Who am I fighting?’ And he’d fight somebody else no matter who it was. He would do it. Most guys don’t do that. They don’t do it. There’s too much on the line – there’s too much at stake. They’re too famous. They have the belt. They’re making too much money. He pushes all his chips on the table every time he fights.
“I think that’s what makes him the most special guy who’s ever fought here, or girl, and I think the fans would agree that they love that type of personality – even if you hate Conor and don’t like the way he acts, don’t like the things he says, somebody tell me the last time they saw a boring Conor McGregor fight. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t exist. His press conferences aren’t boring, his weigh-ins aren’t boring, and his fights definitely aren’t boring.”