Conor McGregor’s Irish fans to be big losers as fight KO’d

Scheduled bout on July 9th cancelled in what appears to be a row over pre-fight publicity

UFC President Dana White highlights the reasons why Irish MMA star Conor McGregor was pulled from UFC200. Video: ESPN/SportsCenter

 

Thousands of Irish fans of Conor McGregor could be left significantly out of pocket if the MMA fighter’s bout against Nate Diaz does not go ahead in Las Vegas in July.

The UFC president Dana White has confirmed that McGregor would not be taking part in a scheduled bout on July 9th in what appears to be a row over pre-fight publicity.

If the fight is cancelled, then fans who booked flights and accommodation to Las Vegas independently will have little choice but to travel to the city or forfeit the cost of the trip.

Some fans who booked packages to see the fight with tour operators may, however, be in line for a full refund depending on the terms and conditions of their booking.

According to White, McGregor told UFC officials he would not participate in any promotional activities, including a commercial shoot and press conferences.

“Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he can answer that question. I don’t know,” White said. “But Conor McGregor is not fighting at UFC 200.

“Obviously we still have a good relationship with Conor. I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person. But you can’t decide not to show up to these things. You have to do it.”

While the cost to the UFC organisation if McGregor does not fight will be significant, given the allure of the Dublin fighter, it will hit individual fight fans ever harder.

The news comes a week after Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho died following injuries sustained in a bout in Dublin against McGregor’s team mate, Charlie Ward.

‘Crazy game’

McGregor, who was sitting ringside at that fight, said on his Facebook page that combat sport was a “crazy game” and that Carvalho’s death was “heartbreaking”. “It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this,” he added.

On Wednesday morning there were no flights from Dublin to Las Vegas available over the weekend the fight was due to take place but few travellers would have had change out of €1,000 had they booked return flights arriving into the city in the days before July 9th.

The cost of four nights accommodation in the city meanwhile would be around €400 meaning many fans might already have spent €1,500 to go and see a fight that is unlikely to happen.

According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the rights of fans will depend on how they booked.

If they booked with a tour operator by selecting a pre-arranged, inclusive package which includes tickets or entry to an event and either travel or accommodation or both it is considered to be a package holiday and there are specific laws protecting consumers if things go wrong.

In this case, the event is a major part of this package and if is cancelled or significantly altered, the operator must give the fans the option of a full refund, a replacement holiday of equivalent or superior quality or a lower grade holiday, with a refund of the difference in price.

If someone booked each element of the trip themselves it not considered a package under law, and each element of the trip will have its own contract and terms and conditions. In order to cancel each individual element of the trip someone will need to refer to the cancellation policy in each contract.

Trash-talking

McGregor has become the UFC’s hottest property with his outrageous trash-talking outside the cage and skills inside it.

He surged through the featherweight ranks before knocking out champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds in December.

His stunning loss in March, where the Irishman went up two divisions to fight American Diaz at welterweight, came as another blow to the UFC following the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm.

Holm caused one of the greatest upsets in combat sport when she knocked out Rousey in Melbourne to snatch the world bantamweight title last November.

Diaz, no stranger to trash-talking himself, responded to McGregor’s Tweet with one of his own: “I guess my work here is done I’m retiring too.”