Conor McGregor dinner sold Dana White: “If he can even throw a punch, he’s gonna be a huge superstar”

By Zain Bando - September 12, 2023

In 2023, Conor McGregor arguably remains the most popular fighter in MMA and the UFC.

Conor McGregor and Dana White

Despite having not fought in two years, UFC president Dana White still sings his praises over Conor McGregor’s impact on the sport.

During an exclusive interview with Big Boy TV, White, who has been company president since 2001 and helped transcend the sport into the mainstream, took a chance on McGregor thanks to the overwhelming outcry from the Irish fans.

As Dana White, 54, puts it, during a stop in Dublin amid receiving an award, patrons at a local bar approached White and raved about the potential Conor McGregor could have on the UFC and its ever-growing brand.

Little did White know what the next six or seven years would bring, saying McGregor’s personality is what drew him to sealing the deal on an eventual superstar.

After Sean Shelby, a UFC matchmaker, signed McGregor, a dinner in Las Vegas sparked Dana White’s interest, he said.

“He had already had his finger on the pulse of Conor McGregor and knew what was going on,” White said. “They signed him. Conor came out here. He and I went to dinner. When I left the dinner, I called Lorenzo [Fertitta]. I said, ‘Dude, I don’t know if this kid can fight or not, but if he can even throw a punch, he’s gonna be a huge superstar.’”

As the story goes, McGregor went on and captivated the entire sport by rising up through the ranks of the featherweight division, knocking off the likes of Max Holloway, Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier and Chad Mendes. McGregor eventually defeated Jose Aldo for the featherweight title before becoming a two-division champion in 2016.

Although McGregor has won one fight since 2016, he has been targeted to face “Iron” Michael Chandler at UFC 296, thus capping off TUF 31 between the two coaches. At press time, the fight is not confirmed and discussions have been rather silent. The event is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 16 at T-Mobile Arena.

What are your thoughts on Dana White’s discovery of Conor McGregor from 2013? Let us know, Penn Nation!

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Conor McGregor Dana White UFC