Mar 4, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during weigh-ins for UFC 196 fight against Nate Diaz (not pictured) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-266164 ORIG FILE ID: 20160304_mjr_su5_017.JPG

Dana White Not Ready to Say Conor McGregor Has Been Stripped of His Lightweight Title

Dana White confused just about everybody on Friday while addressing the lightweight title situation at UFC 223

UFC president Dana White still isn’t ready to say that he’s taken away Conor McGregor’s lightweight championship.

That was the message on Friday during the UFC 223 pre-fight press conference as White refused to actually say that McGregor has been stripped of the belt despite repeatedly stating that the main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov was for the undisputed belt.

“It’s undisputed. I said it would be. I said that the guy that wins this fight will be the champion,” White said about Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov.

While that may be clear, when White was pressed to say that McGregor has been stripped of his title, the UFC’s head honcho wouldn’t answer the question.

“Did I say he’s been stripped of the title? Next question please,” White said.

It was a press conference filled with contradictions just like that as White ducked and dodged any actual confirmation about McGregor’s current status with the UFC other than to say he has no update on the Irishman’s return.

“I have no update,” White said about McGregor. “The winner of this fight will be the champion.”

The only thing White would say with certainty regarding McGregor’s reign is ‘we’ll see what happens’ but it appears for the time being, he is still holding onto his lightweight championship.

Of course, White also added that the plan was always to move forward with the division if McGregor wasn’t ready to return to action. White has stated numerous times that he wasn’t sure McGregor would ever come back after earning more than $100 million for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

“Leading into the Mayweather fight I made it pretty clear, I’ve been in this business a very long time, when you make an obscene amount of money like that, who knows if they’ll ever come back. Right now the position we’re in, Conor’s saying maybe I’ll come back in August, maybe I’ll come back in September. That’s not fair to the rest of the guys in the division. The division has to go on,” White said. “These guys have bene fighting their whole career, everybody wants to get to that pinnacle and it’s the fair thing to do.

“I take so much s–t for how much I like Conor McGregor and everything else but the division has to go on.”

Meanwhile, McGregor has said he’s absolutely ready to come back as soon as the UFC meets his demands on a new contract.

For now, Ferguson and Nurmagomedov will move forward being promoted as an undisputed title fight while McGregor is still being touted as the lightweight champion. Maybe that will change before UFC 223 takes place in April.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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