President Dana White has indicated that the Ultimate Fighting Championship may be willing to lower their financial demands over the purse split for any possible boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and their client Conor McGregor. The mixed martial arts franchise is understood to be asking for 50% of the fee which the Irishman receives for the bout, a request which is in part holding up an agreement between the two fighters.
McGregor has been the poster-boy for UFC for much of his 24-fight career in the sport, a profile which could become stratospheric should he end up facing the unbeaten Mayweather in 2017. The 40-year-old is unbeaten in 49 fights and though he has been retired since September 2015 he remains the biggest name in his sport.
Mayweather is demanding $100m (£80m, €93m) to come out of retirement to face McGregor, while the Dubliner is hoping to cash in on the bout. The UFC had been linked with wanting half of whatever fee the former two-weight world champion demanded but chief White feels obligated to allow McGregor to compete in the fight – an indication his demands could be reduced.
"This kid steps up. He'll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime," he told Fox Sports. "A lot of people say it, very few really mean it. Conor McGregor, I call him the unicorn. I've never dealt with a kid like this. So for him to have this kind of opportunity, to make this kind of money, this type of a fight that people are so interested in worldwide, I almost feel like I have to make it.
"It's a fight that people do want to see. It's intriguing and obviously it's a fight that Conor wants because financially it's going to be massive for him. McGregor, he's a guy that I have a lot of respect for. This guy has stepped up at times when people were at his level would never step up. I've said this a million times and I'll say it again — I'm the guy standing in the living room, I'm the guy on the phone when these guys are looking down the barrel of a new opponent a week before the fight and Conor McGregor doesn't flinch."
Roy Jones Jr, Anderson Silva, David Haye and Jimi Manuwa are among those fighters attempting to latch themselves onto the coattails of the hype surrounding Mayweather and McGregor – each of them stating their interest of appearing in another cross-code match on the undercard. But White says Mayweather and McGregor's clash could be a one-off.
"No, I don't like the idea of it opening up a bunch of different crossover fights," White added. "But this thing has been talked about, it's so big. It's all everybody wants to talk about. Now my guys are saying they want to fight that guy and other boxers saying they want to fight this guy. This is going to be a one and done."