As recently as a week ago, the proposed showdown between Conor McGregor and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone almost seemed like a certainty to happen later this year.
Unfortunately the wheels fell off the possible fight this past weekend when UFC president Dana White revealed that McGregor vs. Cerrone was ‘nowhere close’ to happening and in reality they were searching for a new opponent to face “Cowboy”.
White then later mentioned that perhaps Cerrone could face Al Iaquinta while adding that McGregor may not make his return to action until the fall despite the former two-division champion seemingly champing at the bit to book his next fight.
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan revealed on his most recent podcast the reason he heard the fight between McGregor and Cerrone fell apart and it all comes down to headlining a pay-per-view.
“They were trying to do ‘Cowboy’ versus Conor and apparently the sticking point was that it was going to be a co-main event,” Rogan said. “I think the idea is that they have to have world titles as a main event for pay-per-view.”
Obviously, McGregor and Cerrone haven’t commented about why they may not face off but the UFC has definitely tried to anchor every pay-per-view with a title fight in recent history.
It’s become very rare when a non-title fight headlines a pay-per-view outside of freak occurrences like what happened at UFC 234 when the championship headliner between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum fell off the card on the day of the event.
The last time the UFC planned a pay-per-view card with a non-title fight as the main event was for UFC 202 when McGregor headlined the card in a rematch against Nate Diaz. That event ended up as one of the biggest UFC pay-per-views of all time.
As for where McGregor goes from here, it remains to be seen what he will do if the UFC isn’t offering him a title fight and won’t put him into a main event without a championship on the line.
Rogan believes that McGregor is only interested in the biggest fights possible at this stage of his career, which is why he’s likely steadfast on being the main event because he will undoubtedly be the biggest draw on whatever card he’s competing on.
“I think he’s only interested in big fights,” Rogan said. “Like things that excite him now because he’s got so much money and so much success. It’s just one of those things.”