HOUSTON – When UFC President Dana White reached out to featherweight Conor McGregor about an offensive tweet, he thought he would be ordering the fighter to apologize to the message’s subjects.
Instead, he found McGregor (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) already had written an apology – and deleted the tweet.
“Basically, I just said use common sense when you’re tweeting,” White told reporters at a press conference in support of Saturday’s UFC 166 in Houston.
Common sense might have stopped McGregor from quoting a lyric from rapper Dr. Dre when a fan asked him whom he’d fancy in an end-of-the-world scenario with UFC champ Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. It didn’t.
“One ridin d–k, one lickin ma toes,” wrote “The Notorious” on his account, which currently has almost 69,000 followers.
The UFC has an ethics code aimed at curtailing the type of online behavior that could ensnare the fighter and promotion in controversy, and McGregor, who’s recovering from an ACL injury suffered in a win over Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26 and subsequent surgery, probably violated it.
White said offensive language toward women and fellow fighters is a no-no and scoffed when McGregor explained to him that he sometimes forgets that people are reading his tweets.
But since McGregor already had apologized and deleted the tweet, White instead talked some sense into the fighter. Prior to the message, he said McGregor had been lobbying to train with Rousey, who meets Tate in December at UFC 168.
“‘If Ronda and Miesha were standing here right here, right now, would you say that to them?’” he said he asked McGregor. “‘No, you wouldn’t.’”
McGregor’s penchant for self-promotion has won him a tremendous amount of media attention despite fighting just twice inside the octagon. He’s taken aim at the entire featherweight division and talked trash about champ Jose Aldo and contenders Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson. Several subjects have taken umbrage to his remarks.
White, however, doesn’t see that as the issue.
“There’s nothing wrong with somebody overhyping himself,” he said. “It’s saying or tweeting dumb s–t. Things that are inappropriate. The crazy part is he’s been trying to hit Ronda up. He wants to go train with Ronda. And then you’re going to send a tweet like that with somebody you want to hang out with and train with. It just makes no sense.
“I don’t expect people to be rocket scientists here; these guys aren’t going to find the cure for cancer or anything. All I ask for is a little common sense. Just a little tiny bit of common sense. That’s all I’m asking for here.”
Luckily, when White reached out to the women’s MMA stars, they gave McGregor a pass for the racy message.
“I talked to both Miesha and Ronda and both where like, ‘Whatever,’” White said.
So McGregor will continue his road to recovery with no punishment from the UFC. White simply believes the fighter made a mistake. Fighters, he said, should stop trying to be funny.
“He’s actually a nice kid,” White said. “He’s a respectful kid when you hang out with him, and he’s not an idiot. But he was that night. And we’ve all been there. He had his moment, and hopefully, that’s the last one.”
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(Pictured: Conor McGregor)
John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Houston.