UFC president Dana White and his promotion's biggest star, Conor McGregor, are in an apparent flap over released direct messages and potential fights.
McGregor tweeted Sunday morning that White should "stop lying," in reference to comments White has made about McGregor's desire to fight and a potential boxing match between McGregor and Manny Pacquiao.
On Friday, McGregor tweeted several screenshots of Instagram direct messages between him and White from earlier this year. McGregor posted them to show he wanted to stay active this year, fighting at least three times. In the messages, McGregor brought up potential 2020 fights with top lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, as well as aging legend Diego Sanchez. White scoffed at the notion of a Sanchez fight in reply.
McGregor has fought just once this year, a knockout victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January. He said coming into 2020 that he wanted to have a "season" with three fights, potentially culminating in a December rematch with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That has not come to fruition due to the pandemic and apparent disagreements with the UFC. McGregor wrote Saturday in an Instagram post that it was "borderline criminal" that he has been kept on the sidelines. However, McGregor tweeted in June that he is retired from the UFC and has since reiterated that. McGregor tweeted Friday that he will be fighting Pacquiao in boxing next.
"The biggest number generator in the game asking for four fights since February this year and getting left on seen," McGregor wrote Saturday on Instagram. "It's pretty f---ed up when I keep thinking of it. I've been right here this whole time."
At the UFC 253 postfight news conference early Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, White responded to McGregor, saying the former double champion's releasing of direct-message screenshots was a violation of "man code" and "one of the dirtiest things you can do." Regarding the Pacquiao fight, White said, "I have no idea."
"You guys have been asking me about Conor McGregor forever," White said. "Did you see Conor McGregor's tweet? The retirement tweet. 'I'm retired.'"
McGregor tweeted Sunday that White was the one who violated the code when he lied about McGregor "turning down fights" earlier this year. And McGregor added that White is aware of the potential Pacquiao fight and McGregor has the "legal letters" to prove it. McGregor is still under contract with the UFC and would need the promotion's approval to fight Pacquiao in boxing.
"You have been involved in Manny talks," McGregor wrote. "The legal letters are there. Stop lying."