Dana White is not happy about the news that longtime elite boxer Manny Pacquiao and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor are working on a match in April. He's not one bit happy. Speaking at the UFC Fight Night 123 post-fight press conference, White had pointed words for the Filipino pugilist.
"That would be weird, because (McGregor’s) under contract with us," said White when asked about Pacquiao's statement (h/t MMAJunkie.com). "If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever is representing him."
White denying the fight is no surprise. McGregor and the UFC are in reportedly contentious contract negotiations following the Irish striker's "Money Fight" with Floyd Mayweather in August, something White himself alluded to in an interview last week. Acknowledging the rumors of McGregor working with Pacquiao would not only call into question White's control over a fighter that (theoretically) is under his employ but would also strengthen McGregor's leverage at the bargaining table.
That, of course, doesn't mean the rumors aren't true.
At 38 years old and already semi-retired, Pacquiao only has a few fights left in him. McGregor represents a seemingly low-risk but undeniably high-reward opportunity for the part-timer, who could use a rebound match after a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn.
Meanwhile, despite being under contract with the UFC, the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act leaves McGregor's exclusivity with the company up for debate (a topic that was heavily discussed ahead of the contest). With that in mind, McGregor gains a great deal of haggling horsepower by having strong suitors in multiple sports, a fact that certainly isn't lost on Team Notorious.
That said, don't get too excited about a Mac-Pac superfight yet. The UFC will likely bend over backwards to keep McGregor in the Octagon, and per Yahoo, Pacquiao himself is hedging his bets by acknowledging McGregor as one of a handful of potential foes.
While it might take a bit, and while things might get heated in meantime, look for McGregor's next fight to take place in a cage, not a ring.