On the eve of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York, UFC President Dana White joined The Jim Rome Show in studio and talked about what the vibe has been like in The Big Apple. White said he expects for his goosebumps to have goosebumps tomorrow night when the fight card gets underway, and later ending with the headline fight, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor challenging lightweight title holder Eddie Alvarez.
“It’s the beauty of this sport and the passion of our fans, man, its awesome,” White said about the electricity of the event. “The people who are going to be in this arena have flown here from all over the world. This is isn’t 15,000 New Yorkers, man. This is New Yorkers, people from England, Ireland, Sweden, different parts of the world.”
Since arriving in New York on Sunday, White says the city’s response has been incredible.
“You know how New Yorkers are, they don’t care about much. They’ve seen it all, they’ve done it all. Every celebrity lives here and everything else,” White said. “Everyday, everywhere I go, people are yelling Dana, it’s about time, and it’s not just our fans that are coming for the event, because I’ve been here since Sunday. I’ve been to New York a million times. People aren’t screaming at me when I’m walking down the street. There’s a different level of awareness for the UFC and for the sport in New York now.”
At Thursday’s press conference, McGregor showed up late, a tactic White believes he does purposely to taunt his opponent.
“He’s the best at mental warfare, and I believe his whole late thing is,” White laughed. “It’s not that he wants to make him wait for me, he wants him to know I can do this and you can’t kind of thing.”
McGregor’s future after his fight with Alvarez is unclear, White said, but he shared an interesting story about his dinner on the town last night, where he ran into good friend of Floyd Mayweather and famed rapper 50 Cent.
“50 cent is in the other room. He and I start talking last night, and he’s like, ‘What’s up with your boy? Is he going to fight Floyd?’ I’m like my boy, who Conor? And he’s like yeah. I’m like Floyd’s never going to take that. He’s like ‘Dana, Floyd wants that fight. Floyd will take that fight.’ I said I’ll tell you what, you tell Floyd to call me, and if he’s serious about this, give me a call,” White said. “So he walked out and got on the phone and called Floyd, and he got on the phone with him when he was leaving, so I haven’t heard anything from either one of them today, but you know I don’t know how that negotiation goes.
“But I’ve been saying it all along, look at how long it took for Pacquiao-Mayweather to happen. You know what I mean? And they’re in the same sport.”
As for how a bout could take place between Mayweather and McGregor, with two different sporting rules, White wasn’t exactly sure.
“It would be completely unfair to do grappling or go to the ground or do any of that stuff, it makes no sense for Floyd. Plus, we could start at kicks, punches and elbows,” White said. “We can’t do straight boxing or we can’t do straight MMA. Or Joe Rogan said let him box him and fight him in MMA.”
White admitted that getting asked about the idea a possible Mayweather vs. McGregor bout once drove him crazy.
“This question use to drive me crazy. I would hate when people would ask me about Floyd and Conor, and then last night that happened. I don’t know. So we will see, I don’t know,” White said.