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« | Home | »

Was Conor McGregor’s win at UFC 189 worth $45 million dollars?

By Zach Arnold | July 11, 2015

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The Hulk Hogan effect.

Every WWE wrestler in the 80s wanted to be on the Hulk Hogan A-level cards when the promotion toured on split squads. When Hogan drew money, everyone else drew money. The same principle applies to Conor McGregor.

His win over Chad Mendes on Saturday night was a triumph in the UFC’s undying belief that McGregor will be their number one ace as a drawing attraction. With Jon Jones constantly in trouble, the company needed someone reliable who could become The Next Great White Hope.

The Reebok uniforms are part of UFC’s growing dumpster fire when it comes to labor relations. The uniforms are trash. But as long as UFC can continue to produce the Conor McGregors of the world, there will be a thousand fighters who will buy into whatever UFC management is selling for a miniscule paycheck in hopes of winning an imaginary lottery ticket.

The main card for UFC 189 turned out to be a fantastic watch, especially in contrast to the amusing garbage produced by ESPN with their Al Haymon PBC debut on the Mouse. When UFC is hot, it is hot. When it’s not, it’s an abomination.

I do not doubt the marketing talent & fighting ability of Conor McGregor. You shouldn’t either after his fight performance against a disappointing Chad Mendes. However, that doesn’t excuse the absolutely shallow & pathetic behavior on display by UFC management in regards to the way they have insulted the intelligence of the fans and slimed other fighters who have given their best to Zuffa.

On Friday, UFC threw a curve into the mix with a “confrontation” backstage between McGregor and Urijah Faber. A classic pro-wrestling tease. In the two weeks before Mendes/McGregor, UFC management spent every waking breath tarnishing and denigrating Jose Aldo as a man and as a fighter. A man who was touted as the Number One Pound-For-Pound fighter in the world found his credibility and reputation getting trashed as if he was Ariana Grande. Those ribs really weren’t hurt. He didn’t want to fight because he couldn’t make weight. He didn’t want to fight because he is scared of McGregor.

These attacks didn’t come from McGregor’s camp. Well, technically, they did come from McGregor’s camp because UFC management is his camp given the reports of the mansion treatment. UFC management doesn’t even blur the lines of impartiality any more. They have completely erased those lines. No wonder Al Haymon loves his boxers screaming “Call Al Haymon!” after every fight like Keith Thurman did on Saturday night in Tampa.

To top off the absurdity, UFC pulled a WCW-style skit where McGregor arrived to the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a police escort for his own protection… except nobody was actually around mobbing him. And then there was Sinead O’Connor.

For his efforts, Chad Mendes will forever be a UFC company man after his recent 8-fight contract deal and loss to Conor McGregor. At least until they cut him or decide that he’s a “coward” for not taking any fight they throw at him. Life is just a work and everything is professional wrestling.

UFC 189 Main card results from the MGM Grand Garden Arena

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 34 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

34 Responses to “Was Conor McGregor’s win at UFC 189 worth $45 million dollars?”

  1. rst says:

    Well this is the first evidence I’ve seen that mcgregor might be the real deal.
    But I wonder if there should be a tiny asterisks for Mendes being a late replacement with a short camp and judging from the PBP’s tooling mcgregor before eating a hot one.

    But these are things that happen in MMA.
    Its the first win on mcgregors resume that means much to me.

    Maybe Lawler should change his nickname to the Terminator the way he just keeps coming forward and you just cant stop him. I’m happy for him, he deserves the success he’s having.

    • Mark says:

      I say there should be probably. I got the impression he strayed from the very successful G&P strategy because he wasn’t confident in his ability to keep it up for another 3 rounds. McGregor appeared to have the takedown defense of an infant (no offense to him, I am a fan), so there was no reason to not keep it going. Unless you want to put on a tinfoil hat and say UFC told him to take a dive like Rogan says Shamrock did.

  2. Jeff Montelongo says:

    Being at the right place at the right time whenever someone pulls out a title fight or main event for an opportunity for a bigger-than-average payday isn’t exactly what anyone would call a “imaginary lottery ticket”, and calling it the way you’re calling is hyperbole beyond….uhh… hyperbole (or whatever). And referring to when the UFC aren’t drawing Lesner or GSP pay per view numbers as an “abomination” is….if not hyperbole than a pretty damn poor choice of words. Yes, numbers are low across the board since Lesner left the company and GSP went into semi-retirement, and their profit margin within the last 3-4 years are in no absolute way even close previously but if you can prove the company haven’t been making a profit during these down periods then not only will I kiss your feet but I’ll also shine your shoes as well, but in the meantime you haven’t. I’ll go to as far in saying they’re probably not even making a profit, but still wouldn’t say they’re spending more than they’re bringing in. If you want to continue using these terms like winning lottery ticket and abomination, fine, but also realize others (not me though) will use words like hack, bitter, pompous or yellow journalism when describing your writing. Gotta be able to take a dose of your own medicine every once in a while.

    And another thing, “insulting the intelligence of the fans”??? Which fans? If you’re referring to fans like us who read your blog and Dave Meltzer’s site, then yes, I would consider myself insulted as a fan. But we both know most UFC fans in this country aren’t like us who like keeping ourselves informed on the business aspect of the sport. And let’s be most the overwhelming majority of UFC fans across the board, specifically the casual fans, aren’t that very bright, just like most fans generally in the other sports (NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL) aren’t very bright either. I’ll go as far to call myself an MMA elitist, but there’s a reason why we would call ourselves the elite though when it comes to not being selectively ignorant or burying our heads in the sand. When the casual fans are insulted they don’t even realize they’re being insulted b/c they just aren’t smart enough when it comes to their respective sports. I’m willing to bet TWO-THIRDS of UFC casual fans last night watching the PPV probably didn’t even notice they were all wearing Reebok if Goldberg, Rogan or some friend watching as well hadn’t pointed it out to them. But ironically I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said here, just not the choice of wording in describing it though. Zach, when you’re right, you’re right (RE: Pride/DSE/Japan and pretty much 90% of everything else) and why I keep coming here b/c I’m both impressed and informed. But articles like these may give some of us an impression you’re bitter and resentful towards Dana and Zuffa. Over what? I don’t know, but about something though.

    And an Ariana Grande, reference? REALLY??? You gotta do what you gotta do i guess.


    Well if Aldo stays at 145 hes going to take a beating. So I can see him moving up now and avoid the Mc Gregor show, especially with the iv ban coming up.

    Brutal ww title match, Rory and Robbie lost a few years of life in that one. Wont(shouldn’t) be seeing either of them fighting until next summer.

    Official grade for the reebok uniforms F/incomplete.
    Yep, complete garbage pumped out by a few interns.
    White and black shorts, or black and white shorts…wow great stuff there guys.
    One sleeve black, the other white. oh no, that looks not getting old any time soon…
    Simple contrast issues were never addressed, like having dark red or blue names dropped onto a black background, rendering them almost invisible. The general blackness of the championship uniforms with black logos literally sets athletic clothing design back 25 years.

    This is cut and pasted junk full of major design errors. Yet it got to the final product stage regardless of these errors being obvious at every step of production. I could go on about it but its obvious UFC did the deal with the devil himself with this one, just a hideous corporate stamp…

    • Mark says:

      He’d look like the biggest bitch in the world if he did. It would make Tito’s “I don’t want to fight my BFF Chuck” mistake look minor. He can fight him, say he cleared the division if he wins and forfeit the belt, just move on if he loses.

    • rst says:

      “…I can see him moving up now and avoid the Mc Gregor show,…”

      I’m no Carnac the fortune teller,
      but I think Aldo will defend the weakling belt at lewast against the ginger before he feels forced to move up.

  4. SonnensRoidedNut says:

    Wow, i wonder who pissed in Zach Arnold’s wheaties today.

    Zach….seriously, you have become nothing but some boot-licking hater anymore. While there are a lot of elements of truth to what you said, couldnt you just, report what was a great event? Did everything you say anymore have to be this blood spitting hate?

    Here’s the thing. Yeah, we know the UFC loves McGregor. You don’t need to dwell on it. It goes without saying. Why wouldn’t they? McGregor just oozes personality. His fight style is exciting. He finishes fights. And he’s simply larger than life. Of course the UFC wants him win.

    Zach, you are ruining your own site.

    • Mark says:

      Dislike him if you want, but the guy is consistent.

      Read the archives if you don’t remember its history. He was calling out UFC for crap main events in 2006, favoritism towards Liddell, and business practices in the crappy TUF contract days.

      People just project stuff on the guy. He was the UFC fanboy who wanted IFL to fail (even though he promoted it like crazy on the radio show.) Then he was the PRIDE fanboy who wanted UFC to fail (even though he was the only American to be honest about their Yakuza scandal while Sherdog and others ignored it.) Then he was the PRIDE hater (even though he wanted Ed Fishman to buy it so it wasn’t given the WWF/WCW merger treatment.)

      If you think he’s rooting for UFC’s demise, you’re crazy. He’d have to shut the site down when there’s nothing to talk about but yearly Kimbo fights against tomato cans.

      • I was around for all that stuff Zach wrote about, from day one.

        Which is why i wrote what i did.

        It’s nice to be ‘consistent’….but when your ‘consistent’ consists of still whining about how much the UFC sucks, even right after one of the most exciting shows of the past few years….maybe, just maybe, it’s time to take a break. That was my point.

        It’s great that Zach reminds us 23 times a month about how much the Reebok deal sucks. All us readers get that. We got it months ago. But do we have to reminded of that right after the event? Some of us enjoy reading the business aspects, but all of us ALSO just love to watch a great mma event, and UFC 189 fit the bill. I came on here to discuss how much fun those fights where, and instead…i got….

        ….Zach whining about uniforms again. Please. Enough is enough. I see that shit, and it just says he’s jumped the shark.

        • rst says:

          “I was around for all that stuff …”

          But boss has always been fair.
          And calls it what it is.

  5. david m says:

    It was the best MMA card I’ve ever seen. It was the kind of card that reminded me why I became a fan of the sport so many years ago. Zach’s bitterness is understandable on a macro level, but seems misplaced on a micro level.

    I don’t feel that Zuffa is insulting the fans’ intelligence btw. Aldo has pulled out of 5 fights. McGregor insinuated he had a bad injury going into the fight, but didn’t pull out. As McGregor stated repeatedly, Aldo didn’t even apologize to all the Brazilian fans who spent thousands of dollars to fly to Vegas to watch him fight. Fighting with injuries is a part of the sport; if Aldo only fights when he is 100% healthy, it legitimately detracts from his reputation. I am not saying he wasn’t injured, just that he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.

    McGregor will KO Aldo, btw. He has the best combo of power, chin, and technique in the sport.

    • Mark says:

      How is he bitter? He put the show over. He’s being consistent in what Zach Arnold has been saying about UFC since way back in 2005 when he had the podcast with Dr. Keith and Mike Sempervive.

      Just replace McGregor living in a UFC mansion with Liddell getting gifts from his buds while guys fight on PPV undercards for 2 grand, Reebok being a bum deal with TUF contracts being a bum deal, and pointing out how Rasslin’-like the Faber/McGregor thing was with Shamrock pretending to go apeshit because Ortiz made a corny “Rick James, bitch” joke.

      I like that better than Dave Meltzer’s “UFC is the greatest thing to ever happen to humanity” marking out when McGregor says he wishes he could cut off Aldo’s head at a Brazilian press conference and getting giddy over the 4 Horsewomen. I love Melty, I’m probably going to put his son through college with all the money I’ve given him for 20 years (allowance money for a lot of those, I’m not that old), but he is not objective like Zach. And that’s what I like about FO.

      • How is Zach bitter?

        Jesus…read his recap of the event. How much ‘event’ talking did Zach do, compared to his rant?

        • Zach Arnold says:

          Imagine what the global reaction would have been if it had been reported that Messi or Ronaldo had been partying with Sepp Blatter during the World Cup and had been given money or some sort of transaction as a token of appreciation.

          Imagine what the reaction of American football fans would have been if Roger Goodell spent the two weeks before the Super Bowl between the Patriots and Giants trashing Rob Gronkowski over his ankle injury by claiming that it really wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be and that Gronkowski’s ducking from the pressure of the expectations of the big stage.

          In no other major sport in today’s era can I recall a sports President or Commissioner treating a star athlete in a championship scenario the way Dana White has treated Jose Aldo for the last several months. We wouldn’t accept this kind of behavior from other sports properties, so why is it acceptable with UFC?

      • Jeff Montelongo says:

        I feel Meltzer and Zach are both objective. Meltzer does mark out over the money promos and the type of hype & marketing used in pro wrestling obviously a lot more than Zach b/c it would be so ridiculous to not point out or acknowledge what everyone else in the world is marking out to as well. But he also has a more wait-and-see and here-are-some-of-their-options-both-good-and-bad approach to analyzing the MMA/wrestling/boxing business as oppose to the doom-and-gloom “there’s going to be a huge car crash and let’s see if Dana and Lorenzo can get themselves out of this pickle” approach to selling his writing on this website.

        Screw it, I’ll stop beating around the bush, Zach is so much more negative towards EVERYTHING in his tone, whether it’s UFC, PRIDE or K-1, WWE or Ariana Grande apparently. It comes off as if his goal is to be as negative as possible so he can sell the “a huge car crash is about to happen so stay tuned to see if they can avoid it” steak and sizzle. Even when Zach is a guest on podcasts he is such a negative Nancy on whatever topic he’s on, he seems like….pardon my French….as if he has a stick up his ass. But I guess I’m still just as guilty for continuing to read his writing and listen what he has to say, maybe I’m just a sado-masochist and I’m the one who actually needs help. But now you can see why he comes off maybe bitter to some his readers, and maybe the bitterness he’s projecting stems from an behind-the-scenes incident involving himself and others in the MMA business. What I’m trying to say is I want Zach to succeed and see his readership grow, but maybe (or not) his negativity and/or bitterness is holding him back from a certain aspirational level of professional success. Or maybe what he’s been doing this whole entire time is actually working and I’m just a mark, either way I spent WAY too much time thinking about this let alone writing about it.

      • rst says:

        “McGregor living in a UFC mansion…”

        Is this true?
        I keep hearing about it, but what do you mean?

        Is he literally living in a zuffa owned property?

    • rst says:

      He just might.
      I’m starting to think that Aldo is becoming complacent.

      But once again whether that makes the ginger great is the same argument whether anderson silvas record was ever great.
      (It wasn’t.)

  6. JV says:

    Was it worth $45 Million?

    If ZUFFA were not looking to sell then I would have said that it wasn’t worth it, but they are not in it for the long run, they want to make a big splash, gain a lot of attention, be everywhere on TV, endorsed by Reebok, have a better network deal and then profit not from these cards but from whatever they can get when they eventually sell the company. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and they want nothing to do with what is coming.

  7. King Famous says:

    Connor sells. Aldo is awesome, but has never put buts in seats like Connor. UFC throws him under the bus repeatedly, but Medes showed up in a no lose situation. Bellator’s recent production values I think had something to do with UFC stepping it up. Robbie/Rory fight was the definition of how I think of the UFC. It was both technical and wild, bloddy, and filled with championship level combat. I’m glad the UFC killed it on this show. And I am looking forward to Aldo/Connor.

    • rst says:

      “Connor sells. Aldo is awesome, but has never put buts in seats like Connor.”

      Pro rasslin sells,
      but theres a reason that I dont watch that.

  8. Steve Fiji says:

    Seriously, I come to this site for the side-column links. Zach is such a troll disguised as a ‘do-gooder’ wrapped in a hater costume. I get the fact he wants to be on the side of the consumer, the fighter, the common man… But hell, the UFC is the UFC because of what a few guys risked and accomplished. There will always be guys who want to tear the heart out of another dude, no matter the prize, especially to have a shot someday, no matter how unlikely, to be known as the baddest man on the planet. For the time being, the UFC deserves its run, everything is getting better (but not fast enough for Zachariah the Zealot) the unions will come with time (it’s simple evolution), the drug testing will continue to improve, the contracts will become far more favorable and someday bitter, human trolls like Zach will need to find another windmill to fight. Maybe then he can cry about injustices to the Russian MMA Knights in Shining Armor Women’s Welterweight Division. You cannot call yourself a true fan of the sport, watch that event (189) and not want to sing from the heavens.

    If following that epic gladiatorial gift, your first column is all about uniforms sucking, “absurdities” and Chad Mendes being an abomination and someday getting cut (Serously WTF?????), you sir are a friggin wretched, shallow and impotent man. The world needs the far right and the far left ONLY so the Bell Curve has its anchors. Doesn’t mean they matter as much as those individuals think they do, they only serve the statistically insignificant purpose of being the statistically insignificant fringe to their own self-righteous BS.

    So honestly, why do I come here once or more a day? The links and only the links! Somebody PLEASE just give me a link to another site that links to all the recent MMA postings of popular sites and I swear to God I will never come back to see this bitter man’s pathetic diatribes ever again. I challenge Mr Arnold to eliminate the side column links and see how many other people don’t come back either. For the love of God, “Lighten up, Francis!” (but we know that wont happen, because if it blogs like a troll, writes like a troll and attacks like a troll, but fancies itself to be some sort of champion of the people, the players and the patrons, then the fine line between enthusiasm and delusion has long been crossed).

    I honestly never wrote to this site even though I have visited it thousands of times, I never will write to it again. Seacrest out!

    • rst says:

      I tuned out when you used your word “hater”.
      Only 13 year olds of all ages say that.
      And then it took some effort and a couple of seconds to scroll past the rest of it…

    • Tradition Rules says:

      “Somebody PLEASE just give me a link to another site that links to all the recent MMA postings of popular sites and I swear to God I will never come back to see this bitter man’s pathetic diatribes ever again….”

      There is a thing called GOOGLE, you can just do a search…that, or just bookmark your favorite links that you go visit most frequently.

      Everybody has a right to their own opinion and the freedom to post it here or any other site. Bu why write a novel? Just state what you disagree with/dislike and move on? Honestly, there ARE things I don’t agree with Zach on, but so what?

      And if I don’t care for an article he has written, I don’t read the whole thing. I don’t moan about him being “a drag”, wet blanket”,”pessimist”, ” complainer”(which is kind of what they claim Zach is doing about the UFC & MMA,….hmmm…what’s the difference.), etc., fine. But if ANYONE doesn’t like the site as much as SOME say they do , just just speak you mind and move on,… or if you REALLY don’t like it, do as you say and “never come back…”.

      • rst says:

        ““Somebody PLEASE just give me a link to another site that links to all the recent MMA posting…”

        Well seeing as you are fishing around for a sight that suits your point of view, you’re lying. You want a website that suits you. Try bloodyelbow. Or huffpost.

        • rst says:

          “Bu why write a novel?”

          Writing the great american novel should be part of every public school education.

  9. SonnensRoidedNut says:

    To Zach,

    Your reply up there stresses the importance of the UFC not bashing Aldo and comparing that to other sports. In regards to that.

    1. You missed the big point. There is plenty of time to discuss that topic. ‘Problem’ issues like that, including drug testing, contracts, and money. That could have been discussed this week, next week, these things aren’t going anywhere. Why people are giving you shit is this was a GREAT event. On just a pure love of MMA level. Even if you hate the UFC, a person just had to appreciate the heart and will all these fighters on the main card showed. I haven’t seen sporting drama like this in years. And what did you do? You chose your editorial to include ‘problem issues’

    2. Not only did you choose your editorial to bring up problem issues yet again, but then you went and whined about the Reebok uniform thing again. Seriously? Awesome event, and we have to have links to your past Reebok article? Hype that article yet again? Look. While the fighters are getting jobbed with the deal in some respects, it’s not a big deal to the public. In fact, I would venture a guess that 95% of the UFC didn’t even realize the Reebok deal was in effect. None of the 15 people with me, watching a the bar, even knew about it. This is a non-issue to the public.

    3. Regarding your views on Aldo, and how other sports deal with it.

    - You used a soccer example. You said to imagine… ‘Ronaldo had been partying with Sepp Blatter’? Ok? So what? The Global reaction? No one would care. Look at the scandals now with FIFA. Fans don’t give a shit, they already know the organization was corrupt decades ago. No big deal. Move on. This is a media story, that has no connection to the fans.

    - You used a Rob Gronkowski story. Ok? Again, so what. Most NFL fans will tell you Roger Goodell is clearly biased and a homer for a few teams, like the Patriots. How he is close friends with the Krafts, and let them slide for over a decade with their cheating and other shenanigans. THAT is how NFL fans feel, and that is why they felt Goodell had to come down on Brady as hard as he did. Listen to some talk NFL radio. That ‘image’ that had been floating around.

    - So the UFC is somehow different? A special snowflake because they played up certain athletes? Please. Go the NBA. Talk to any NBA hardcore fan and they’ll tell you elite NBA guys get away with murder. Traveling rule, hello? The league treats them differently in regards to rules. Come on, Kobe Bryant raped a woman years ago and the NBA protected him. If that had been any lessor player, …cut in one day.

    So if the UFC wants McGregor to win, even bashes Aldo for backing out after tens of millions were spent on global advertising….well, it’s not going to be an issue with the general fan base. It’s just UFC hate fodder for a tiny 1/10th of 1% on message boards. General fans don’t care. And again, to be blunt, all sports give huge breaks to top/special athletes. Fans know this. Which is why no one cares about this stuff.

  10. JV says:

    I’m not saying that Zach is 100% right, but it is refreshing to see someone covering MMA in not the typical—ass-kissing, protect credentials, toe the company line, mouthpiece for the organization—type of way that we see pretty much in all of MMA media. I come to this website because I know that I will read about issues that most MMA media would be scared to touch on or even allude to.

    After countless of regurgitated headlines like “OMG Dana White puts Fighter A on BLAST” “UFC SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT Mouthpiece moment”, “He said, she said crap”, you kind of get sick of it all and just wish someone out there would cover this whole thing in a more legitimate way.

    In the media ecosystem of MMA, this site is a breath of fresh air, never change Mr. Arnold.

    • Jeff Montelongo says:

      Even I gotta agree with a lot you pointed out. I do get annoyed too at at the fanboy fluff pieces the majority of the MMA news sites and MSM outlets put out at times, especially the fact a lot them still perpetuate a good hunk of the Zuffa Myth even this day. But I still would not in a million years lump Meltzer, F4W or even that immoral degenerate Michael Coughlin into that fraternity of Zuffa knob slobbers. It is refreshing to read Zach’s right-to-the-point no nonsense perspective that only a minority of journlalists/writers take in 2015 even if I do think IMO it comes from a negative or bitter place.

      • klown says:

        Ditto. I come here for Zach’s particular perspective, which is a critical one. Sometimes I’m in the mood for non-critical coverage that celebrates a good fight or whatever, and I go elsewhere for that.

  11. DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

    If I’m Fedor, I’m wanting rematches with TRT less shells Bigfoot and Hendo(probably not Hendo since he’s at 185 now, and can still hit). And then dispatching PED free, and shell like mir, overeem and Barnett… finally rematching Werdum to close out the legacy. Fedor needs targets that will drop with one good shot.

    I’m thinking Bellator isn’t an option even with one punch shamrock, too many Russian fighters there already. And they can’t match UFC money, but Fedor would be required to wear reebok uniform with UFC so thats a deal breaker. And I don’t think UFC has any shows planned in Russia this year.

    Timing wise, Fedor is on track for a new years show in Japan with a full camp. I wonder who he could fight? Not much available at HW fujita rematch?

    • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

      Personally, I’d like to see fedor lose the spare tire and tear up the 205 division. He would beat at least half of the top 10 in ufc and bellator.

      • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

        UFC got lucky with their last 3 main events! Frank Mir got a lucky ticket in the Fedor lottery I think.

        • rst says:

          Fed/Mir is a wonderful fight. If Fed was in the UFC. Good HW’s are rare. And UFC has them all. He’s got more interesting fights, and a more interesting legacy, if he REALLY intends on a resurgence, at 205.

          Lose that winter belly.


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