Early this morning Conor McGregor earned himself a featherweight title fight with his victory over Dennis Siver in Boston, but the UFC have ruled out his dream venue for the bout - Croke Park.
This stadium has hosted many wars. It will host one more. WELCOME TO EIRE!!! pic.twitter.com/O3ERHHwf9e— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 26, 2014
McGregor has made no secret of his desire to fight in GAA headquarters or another Irish stadium and initially UFC boss Dana White seemed open to the idea, but in now looks certain the fight with current champion Jose Aldo will be in Las Vegas.
.@Ciaranmck79 If he wins it will be at Croke Park or Vegas— danawhite (@danawhite) January 12, 2015
Aldo was in attendance to watch the Dubliner beat Siver last night and McGregor made a beeline for the champion as soon as he was declared the winner - intent on letting the Brazilian know he was coming for the title next.
In an interview following last night’s bout White gave several reasons for ruling out Croker.
The first of these did not go down well with Irish UFC fans - the curfew in place for events at Croke Park was one of the first things White mentioned.
The next factor mentioned was likely weather in Dublin.
White said in the interview: “I can guarantee you it’ll rain. I’m not a meteorologist, but I can bet you it will rain.”
Hmmm, we were hoping to dupe him with pictures of a sun-drenched Croker, but it sounds like he has experience of the lovely Irish weather.
White also cited probably the most important reason -. He said the financial return from pay-per-view broadcasts of UFC fights is seriously impacted when the fight is outside the US, mainly due to the time difference.
If the Croke Park curfew meant McGregor's fight taking place at 10pm Irish time it would equate to a 2pm in broadcast in Las Vegas - not exactly peak time viewing.
For that reason in combination with the others McGregor’s first shot at the UFC will take place in Las Vegas, probably in May.
Irish UFC fans need not lose all hope though - White didn’t rule out Croke Park permanently.
“I’m not saying we’re never gonna do it, but Vegas for this one,” he said. Check out the full presss conference here.
Not that McGregor will be without friends in Las Vegas - a host of stars tweeted their congratulations to the Irish fighter, and pledged support for the upcoming fight.
Congrats to the McGregor-nator @TheNotoriousMMA on terminating another opponent. Can't wait for your world championship fight. I'll be there— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 19, 2015
Helluva way to electrify last night Irishman @TheNotoriousMMA Great to see. Get after it and grab that brass ring brotha.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 19, 2015