Conor McGregor’s (empty) threat to not fight in Nevada exposes how vulnerable Athletic Commission is
By Zach Arnold | October 12, 2016
Dana White is playing the public role of “peacemaker” with Conor McGregor threatening to not fight again in the state of Nevada after getting fined
$150,000 $75,000 for the water bottle incident with Nate Diaz.
White made it clear, during an interview with Jason Whitlock on Fox Sports 1, that he wanted Conor McGregor to fight again in Nevada. It’s where UFC is headquartered and where they get rights fees from casinos for big events.
McGregor’s threat to not fight again in Nevada may be hollow but it underscores the new reality facing the increasingly abusive Nevada State Athletic Commission. After the state of Nevada yanked the Athletic Commission from general funding, the Athletic Commission has been forced into self-financing and budgeting. The response to this new reality by the Athletic Commission has been to brazenly transform itself into a money-grabbing asset forfeiture operation with a mentality of criminal authority it does not possess.
For every action, there is a reaction. The reaction to behavior of the Nevada State Athletic Commission has created the following openings:
- An opportunity for an attorney to make a full-time living in a niche field of suing the Nevada State Athletic Commission for arbitrary and capricious rulings, thus creating an avenue to win attorney fees for each petition for judicial review
- The threat of big name fighters no longer fighting in Nevada in order to head to other no-income tax states like Texas or Florida
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has no one to blame but itself. Instead of fully processing the new realities of self-financing, the Athletic Commission went into Sheriff Joe Arpaio mode. Someone should explain the concept of capital flight to the board members. The UFC has new owners who have a world to conquer. Floyd Mayweather is retired. Al Haymon is dealing with major legal & financial issues. There simply aren’t as many guaranteed mega-money fights for Las Vegas as there used to be.
Fighters choose to fight in Las Vegas because it’s the entertainment capital of America and has no state income tax. Fighters aren’t choosing to fight in Nevada because of the regulatory quality of today’s Athletic Commission. It’s not as easy to conduct business in the state of Nevada today as it was during Marc Ratner’s tenure. Fighters have more options now. Fighters can go to South Beach or Orlando if they want to fight in a state with entertainment options and no state income tax. There’s Jerry World in Dallas. Options are no longer limited.
Without political and business pressure from the UFC, the Nevada State Athletic Commission would be financially on the rocks. The Nevada State Athletic Commission needs the UFC and its fighters for self-financing their operations. Instead of understanding how vulnerable their position is, the Athletic Commission has gone all-in as regulators with powers they do not truly possess. They can ask their next door neighbor in California what happens when major fighters don’t want to come to your state.