Reports came in thick and fast last night that both Rafael Dos Anjos and Conor McGregor have signed on the dotted line for their heavily reported super fight bout at UFC 197.
We all felt like we were in the know on Sunday night during Fox’s NFL broadcast. Ever since Thursday night, when Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report leaked the news of March 5’s UFC 197 main event being a super fight between lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, the MMA world awaited the confirmation of the bout, which was due to take place at 10:45 PM during halftime in the Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins game.
And it wasn’t just media members who were signaling that the confirmation of McGregor’s first trip to lightweight under the UFC banner was imminent. Interviewed by the LA Times over the weekend, Frankie Edgar spoke as if a fight before July between him and the Irishman was absolutely out of the question. Edgar outlined that he felt like someone would have to “get injured” for him to be the next opponent for McGregor.
“I honestly don’t really know what I’m going to do yet,” he said. “I’ve got to weigh some things out. Do I want to wait for Conor, could something happen? Someone get injured? Do I want to wait for that fight or fight and make some money? That’s what I’m weighing right now.”
“But for the last three years, I’ve been trying to situate all my fights to lead toward a title and it seems like it’s not really working for me. I’ve missed out on fighting more often, making some money and that’s something.
“I don’t want to be sitting here until June or July expecting to fight Conor and then something else happens like it has in the past, and then I’m left with another scenario of no-fight, no-money. That’s something I have to consider.
“I don’t know if they’re trying to get me out of the picture or what, but I’m hanging in there. Before I even think about who I want to fight, I have to think about what I want to do, if I’m even going to take a fight or not. I’m on the fence.”
A lot of Irish fans stayed up watching the American football coverage to see the UFC 197 announcement, a sport that the vast majority of people know nothing about in the country. To give you an idea of how certain everyone was that this verification was about to take place, even McGregor’s SBG head coach John Kavanagh stayed up to greet the official news.
“T minus 1 hour,” Kavanagh tweeted an hour before the announcement was apparently scheduled. However, when the declaration never came, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt sent out another tweet that blatantly suggested that he too was waiting for the super fight to be verified during the NFL broadcast too.
“Well that was an anti climax.……#RedPantiesBackInDrawer,” he tweeted, citing McGregor’s infamous ‘Red Panty Night’ speech that he directed at Dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone back at the ‘Go Big’ press conference in early September.
Brazilian website Globo released an article on Monday claiming that the reason the announcement had not been made was due to McGregor demanding more money before he signed on the dotted line, despite both he and Dos Anjos verbally agreeing to the contest.
Not long after the Globo article surfaced, Owen Roddy appeared on The MMA Hour where he revealed that McGregor had told him that he would definitely be fighting on March 5.
“All I know, just from listening to Conor, is that he is fighting March 5,” Roddy told Ariel Helwani. “The opponent is up in the air. It could be Dos Anjos, it could be whoever, but Conor is looking to fight on March 5. And realistically, everybody wants to see Conor, so the opponent is not really important. I’m sure he will be fighting on March 5.”
Contrary to the Globo article, there were widespread reports that it was actually Dos Anjos who was holding up proceedings. The man who broke the initial news of the bout, Botter, tweeted something that led many to believe it was the Brazilian’s deliberation that forced the delay in confirmation.
“It’s certainly funny that the story of McGregor holding things up got out there today. It’s not McGregor holding things up,” wrote Botter.
Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie posted that McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar, backed up the claims that it was not ‘The Notorious’ who brought a halt to making the fight official.
“McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar, denies report McGregor is holding up 197 announcement,” he posted.
Later on last night, veteran reporters Helwani and Botter both claimed that both Dos Anjos and McGregor had signed for the fight. Helwani tweeted, “All parties involved on board,” with regard to the UFC 197 super-fight before Botter fortified that statement when he posted, “Have confirmed what Ariel Helwani said with my own sources: McGregor and Dos Anjos camps are both on board now.”
Fanning the flames surrounding the proposed bout, last night Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported a “late change to the agenda for Tuesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission meeting appears to indicate the Ultimate Fighting Championship will indeed host a major event at MGM Grand on March 5.”
The announcement of the bout appears to be imminent with so many sources claiming that both parties have agreed on terms and the news of UFC looking to host a “major event at the MGM Grand on March 5.” However, UFC will want to get the contest confirmed if they hope to ensure the presence of the vocal Irish support. With 10,000 Irish fans traveling to see ‘The Notorious’ in action twice last year in Las Vegas, it’s hard to know if the same numbers will be able to afford another trip in March given the quick turnaround.
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