Conor McGregor stays classy despite Jon Jones fiasco

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Familiar foes: Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor square off at the T-Mobile Arena.

Conor McGregor is back, unfortunately for the UFC just not in the capacity they require. The divisive Irishman had his most powerful weapon returned to his grasp – a UFC mic – as he and Nate Diaz held court to discuss their highly-anticipated rematch at UFC 202.

There they where, the promotion’s two biggest assets, inside the stylish new T-Mobile Arena but instead of a referee, it was UFC president Dana White who stood between them. You get the impression that after Jon Jones sent shockwaves throughout the MMA world with his failed drugs test, White is feeling a sense of remorse.

McGregor and Diaz were initially slated to headline UFC 200 but the clash was scraped because of the Irishman’s reluctance to fulfill his media obligations.

Now, the headliner is Miesha Tate’s first defence of the bantamweight title against Amanda Nunes.

And with the utmost respect, if it was proposed a year ago UFC 200 would be headlined by a women’s fight not featuring Ronda Rousey, it would’ve been deemed pure fantasy. But, perhaps unexpectedly, McGregor was in no bragging mood.

“I could sit up here and say ‘well, well, well,’ but you know, I am a successful human being, and successful human beings do not celebrate in the adversity or misfortune of others,” he said of Jones’ positive PED test. “I wish Jon well, I wish everyone backstage well. I know they’re running around like headless chickens trying to get everything together, but all I missed was a press conference.

“If I look at the facts, the main event of the fight and the co-main event weren’t even at that press conference, so it is what it is.”

Given the shakeup to the event it casts doubt on whether the UFC can beat their previous pay-per-view buyrate set by UFC 100 – a target they so desperately crave.

Diaz’s second-round submission victory over McGregor at UFC 196 was estimated to have reached 1.5 million PPV buys, slotting it behind the centennial card’s 1.6m.

And ‘Mystic Mac’ offered his own prophecy as to whether UFC 200 will take top spot.

“I’m happy with my No1 spot currently,” he said of UFC 196. “It’s the No1 pay-per-view in the company’s history. People think UFC 100 done more PPV buys, but it didn’t.

“I feel this will do well, even though Jones and Cormier was off, the last contest done 750,000 buys. It wasn’t the best contest. I don’t feel that was the attraction. I think bringing Brock (Lesnar) back is.”

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