Dana White: Conor McGregor leaking private messages 'one of the dirtiest things you can do'

UFC president asked his thoughts on the situation following UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi

Powered by automated translation

UFC president Dana White seems not best pleased with Conor McGregor for publicly sharing screenshots of a private conservation between the pair, describing it as “one of the dirtiest things you can do”.

On Friday, McGregor released images on his social media taken from his phone of an exchange with White back in February, in which the Irishman stressed his willingness to fight multiple times this year.

In the messages, McGregor can be seen discussing a potential bout with Justin Gaethje, while also expressing his reluctance to serve as a stand-in for the clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson should either fighter withdraw from the then-scheduled UFC 249. McGregor has competed only once this year, in January, and in June announced he was retiring from fighting.

On Sunday, following UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi, White was asked about the leaked conversation, to which he replied: “Listen, I’ve had people blowing me up left and right. Everybody here knows, this is some man-code stuff. It’s just something you don’t do. It’s one of the dirtiest things you can do.”

White seemed to take particular exception to the section of the conversation regarding Diego Sanchez, in which White rejected McGregor’s request to the fight because, in his words, the UFC would lose its promoter’s license if it was booked.

“Diego Sanchez was in there, in a private conversation that I was having with Conor,” White said. “When you’re the No 2- or 3-ranked guy in the world, and you’re telling me that you want to fight, but you want to fight unranked, 39-year-old Diego Sanchez in a main event in Los Angeles… you know.”

White was asked also about McGregor’s apparent upcoming crossover fight with Manny Pacquiao. The former two-division UFC champion tweeted on Friday that he was taking on the Filipino boxer in a boxing match in the Middle East at the end of this year.

However, despite the management company behind the bout telling The National that the UFC were fully supportive, White played it straight on Sunday, saying he "had no idea" if the fight would actually materialise.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 24: UFC president Dana White interacts with media during the UFC 253 Press Conference on September 24, 2020 at Yas Beach on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
UFC president Dana White in a press conference on Yas Island ahead of UFC 253. Josh Hedges / Zuffa LLC

In contrast, White was extremely complimentary of Israel Adesanya, who prevailed in the headline event at UFC 253 against the previously unbeaten Paulo Costa to retain his middleweight belt. Adesanya, who moved to 20-0, saw off the Brazilian in the second round in a hugely dominant performance. White had previously tipped the encounter to be fight of the year.

“So much for fight of the year, but domination of the year," he said. "If you look at every fight that Costa has had, he comes out and goes after people like they owe him money. And I think he landed one jab.

“Adesanya just went to work, picked him apart, piece-by-piece. And made it look really easy. But you can’t be disappointed when you have somebody that’s as talented as Adesanya is and he comes out and imposes his will and literally dismantles a guy as good and as tough as Costa. Adesanya shut him down tonight and absolutely put on a clinic and destroyed him. You can’t be upset by that.”

Meanwhile, White said a fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards is not booked, as had been reported, while confirming he is likely to pit Jorge Masvidal against Colby Covington next instead of a rematch with Nate Diaz.