Conor McGregor was never going to lose his job following the incident on UFC 223 media day. However, some folks argued that he should have, pointing to the case of Paul Daley.
Eight years ago, Daley was cut from the UFC and essentially blacklisted by Dana White. The Nottingham knockout artist was already a veteran by the time he joined the promotion. Just three fights in, he had thrust himself into the welterweight title picture. However, his title eliminator against Josh Koscheck would prove to be his last fight inside the Octagon.
After knocking out Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett, all that stood between Daley and a title shot against the great Georges St-Pierre was Kos. Unfortunately for the Brit, Koscheck utilised his wrestling prowess to coast to a unanimous decision win.
Daley saw red as soon Dan Miragliotta pulled Koscheck off him at the final buzzer. Dazed, he walked over to the American and sucker punched him. At the post-fight press conference, White announced that he had been dropped by the promotion over the incident. He added that Daley would 'never fight in the UFC again.'
There's no doubt about it, what McGregor did was way worse. Daley cheap shotting Koscheck isn't nearly as bad as McGregor throwing a dolly through a bus window and causing injuries to two fighters that forced them off the card. If that dolly had gone straight through the window, someone could have been seriously hurt, or worse. The punch Daley landed after the buzzer wasn't his strongest by a long way.
However, Daley has been banished from the UFC for life while McGregor will likely get a title shot upon returning to the promotion. Daley doesn't hold it against White or the UFC though. As he explained on the MMA Hour, he believes keeping McGregor on the books is a 'smart move'.
“I’ve seen all the comparisons, and yeah, the whole situation, it was very similar, and Dana could come across as being a little hypocritical. But, for me, it’s a different ballgame."
“The UFC was in a different place then and it’s in a different place now, and a lot of where they are now is down to Conor McGregor. So if you’ve got someone bringing in money, and is raising the sport and your promotion to greater heights, then you can’t ban him for life because business is going to go bad for you. So I understand.”
Daley knows that given the precedent that was set for him, McGregor should lose his job. However, he's also smart enough to realise the rules don't apply to the sport's biggest ever superstar.
“Yeah, really, he should be treated the same as I was. He should be banned for life. What he did as a guy with his profile in the sport and for the company of the UFC, he should be banned for life, if, for what I did, I got banned for life. But business and business and they need him, and I like Conor McGregor and I respect him, and I respect Dana’s choice. It’s a smart move.”
Cutting McGregor now would be financially ruinous for the promotion. That's plain for all to see.