Pacquiao, 41, from the Philippines, told Daily Mail he wasn’t signed to McGregor’s management team as previously reported and that Pacquiao would also need to be one of the event’s co-promoters for the superfight boxing bout to happen.
Conor McGregor is in "serious talks" to fight Manny Pacquiao, per @arielhelwani
The match would take place in late December or early January, potentially in the Middle East. pic.twitter.com/87RbXW8xaQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 25, 2020
McGregor announced last week he would be facing Pacquiao in a crossover boxing match, but it was later reported that the fight hadn’t actually yet be signed.
All that means for UFC fans hoping to see McGregor back inside the UFC’s Octagon instead of a boxing ring is that they should probably hope McGregor doesn’t agree to Pacquiao’s terms.
McGregor Prefers Boxing Match Over UFC Fight
According to ESPN, McGregor prefers facing Pacquiao in a boxing match over any of the other offers on the table right now.
The Irish superstar recently asked former UFC interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier if he wanted to compete against McGregor in a charity MMA rematch that McGregor would promote.
Martial art sparring match in aid of charity. Dublin, December 12th 2020.
Free to air spar. McGregor vs Poirier.
List of chosen charities available soon. All donations welcome ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cLfFbQ0IJF
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 30, 2020
But UFC president Dana White also offered McGregor and Poirier the chance to fight each other in a legit UFC rematch in January instead.
Since McGregor prefers facing Pacquiao, though, he would likely want to skip signing up for a UFC fight against Poirier so he could focus on training for his boxing match.
Indeed, per ESPN, McGregor’s “management team reaffirmed its desire to fight Manny Pacquiao and have a charity sparring match with Poirier instead of the proposed Jan. 23 UFC fight between the two.”
But what if McGregor vs. Pacquiao is off the table now due to Pacquiao’s demand to co-promote the fight?
In that case, maybe McGregor would decide instead it’s best to climb back inside the Octagon in hopes of securing his place among the division’s top 155-pound contenders.
After all, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Justin Gaethje are scheduled to lock horns in the main event of UFC 254 on October 24, so McGregor could believe he’s just one or two fights away from grabbing another title shot.
Did Pacquiao Reverse Field on Paradigm?
The strangest part of the whole story, though, might be that Pacquiao now claims not to have an agreement with McGregor’s management team, Paradigm.
That company sent out a press release in February saying it now represented Pacquiao, too.
Pacquiao issued a statement via that press release as well, and McGregor even welcomed him to the team via social media.
“I am proud to partner with Paradigm Sports Management and am excited for the opportunities that Audie Attar and PSM have to offer,” Pacquiao said via the release. “One thing I want everyone to remember is to always think positively. Never think negatively; that is the beginning of your downfall. Everything is possible”.
Welcome to the team Emmanuel. https://t.co/VnFsahczo5
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 11, 2020
But here it is eight months later and Pacquiao is now saying Paradigm doesn’t represent him?
It’s a strange twist to the story, one that might lead to the superfight falling apart.
“At the present time, I do not have an existing management contract with Paradigm Sports Management. I have formed my own company, Pac Sports and Entertainment, and am more than willing to give the fans what they want: An exciting fight with Conor McGregor under terms and conditions where I am the co-promoter with my company. Thank you and God bless,” Pacquiao said per The Daily Mail.
So McGregor’s announcement about facing Pacquiao inside a boxing ring might have been a tad premature.
But it could actually turn out to be some really good news for fight fans hoping to see him back inside the UFC’s Octagon instead.
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