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Conor McGregor's coach not ready to close the door on UFC 200

As the Conor McGregor vs. UFC saga continues to unfold, some new details about what transpired have surfaced. For the past week, we have heard little from Conor McGregor and his team aside from a few posts on social media here and there. But now his coach, John Kavanagh, has surfaced to give his side of what transpired behind the scenes that led to the current situation that finds the Irishman out of a highly anticipated rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200.

Conor McGregor (Getty Images)Speaking to “The MMA Hour” on Monday, Kavanagh sounded somewhat opportunistic that McGregor would still end up fighting at UFC 200 and is a little confused as to why Dana White and the UFC are standing their ground.

"I'm 51 percent optimistic and 49 percent pessimistic, if you want to know my feelings on it, "Kavanagh said. “At some stage you've got to see that maybe it's pointless to upset so many fans that want to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that are going to be brought in Things seem to be swinging in the right way for us. So we’re aiming for and training for UFC 200. I hope we get some good news.”

As it stands Monday afternoon, however, McGregor is still out and the current plan is for Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier to headline. McGregor recently tweeted that he was back on UFC 200 but White spoke with Yahoo Sports and shot down the notion.

While we’ve heard mostly from the UFC and their stance on the matter, not much has been said from McGregor’s side. Kavanagh shed some light on his fighter’s position.

“I did start hearing about them wanting to do this in Vegas and Conor’s manager had a bit of back and forth with the UFC trying to figure out a way around it or if it can be rescheduled,” Kavanagh said.

The Team SBG coach said that the plan for McGregor was to get some training done in Portugal for seven days and then spend another week in Iceland as they kick off what he deems to be a very significant camp for his fighter. When the topic of doing a press conference in Las Vegas came up, Kavanagh said that it completely derailed their training plans.

“It’s not the same for Conor to have to travel halfway around the world while his opponent has to go basically down the road,” Kavanagh explained in regards to the promotional duties asked of his fighter. But McGregor had no problem appearing in New York and hoped that the UFC would understand the Irishman’s position, considering the concessions he has made for the UFC by accepting short notice fights. Team McGregor offered to do the press conference in Las Vegas closer to the fight but the UFC would not back down from their position.

Obviously, the boisterous McGregor was upset and Kavanagh recalled last Tuesday when McGregor posted his retirement tweet and turned the MMA world upside down.

“I was coaching in Iceland and he showed up late for the session. I was berating him and telling him to get on the mat and get started and he went ‘oh yeah, I just retired,’” Kavanagh recalled. “So we trained for a little bit, I went outside and turned on my phone to see that he put it out there. He was content to leave.”

Kavanagh has since had to change his phone number given the amount of inquiries from journalists regarding his fighter. He also believes that a lot of this could have played out behind the scenes with some concessions being made. For one, he thought that McGregor appearing at the press conference via Skype was a formidable alternative.

“I don’t know what the obsession is with Vegas. The UFC is a global sport, not a Vegas sport, and I don’t see why everything has to be done there,” Kavanagh said.

But, as it stands, McGregor will not be competing at UFC 200. Kavanagh is optimistic, however, as he continues to train McGregor for a rematch with Diaz.

“I really hope that because of his past, his good will taking all of these late notice fights and never causing a problem, generating so much money and being such a large charismatic personality in the show that they’ll change their mind,” he said. “For the sake one half hour press conference we can’t let what will be a fantastic fight one that everyone is excited to see not happen.”


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