Featherweight contender Frankie Edgar is “pissed off” with UFC president Dana White, saying the “C” in the organisation’s name stands for “Conor” in the wake of the decision to replace the injured Rafael dos Anjos with Nate Diaz for the upcoming UFC 196 headliner against Conor McGregor.
Per MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall, Edgar’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz was approached regarding a fight with McGregor by the UFC, but the 34-year-old is still recovering from a groin injury and had to turn down the opportunity. But he believes White is now insinuating he “refused” to fight McGregor, and that doesn’t sit too well with him:
I’m even more pissed that Dana’s insinuating that I ‘refused’ to take this fight, which is bulls–t. Just because they asked me doesn’t mean they were going to give it to me because guess what, in July they asked me to take the [UFC 189] fight on 15 day’s notice, which of course I accepted, and I still didn’t get it.
And this is what my team was pissed at. This dude, they were going to let this guy hold the 145-pound title, go up to 55, now two weight classes are being held up. And now they’re saying he’s going to go up to 70. This is a circus. The ‘C’ in UFC stands for Conor. This guy runs the show.
Per UFC’s official fighter rankings, Edgar currently ranks as the second contender in the featherweight division behind Jose Aldo, who lost his title to McGregor at UFC 194.
Per Mindenhall, Edgar was promised a title shot, but McGregor has since moved up to the lightweight division, leaving Edgar as the odd man out.
Edgar claims White knew about his injury, even saying he sent “everyone in the UFC” the MRI of his torn groin.
Yet White never mentioned that to the press and instead made it sound as if he and Aldo simply turned down the opportunity to take the fight on 10 days’ notice, via sports writer Mike Bohn:
Dana White says on ESPN that Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo turned down McGregor. Cerrone, Penn and Pettis wanted the fight.
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) February 24, 2016
For a fighter who has been waiting for his chance to take on McGregor all these months, the decision not to step in for Dos Anjos appeared to be an odd one. His injury explains a lot, and it’s easy to see why he’s upset with White for failing to make that clear when he announced Diaz as McGregor’s next opponent.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Snowden and Fox Sports’ Damon White debated Edgar’s swipe at the UFC:
@JESnowden All about context. "Frankie Edgar is injured" sounds different than "Frankie Edgar refused the fight". I get his frustration.
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) February 24, 2016
Edgar also fears White may use the fact he didn’t take this fight―which would have been at 155 pounds, not handing Edgar a shot at the featherweight title―against him in the future:
I have a feeling that if I had said ‘yes,’ if Ali had texted back ‘yes,’ that fight still would have went to Nate Diaz. I think Nate Diaz was the fight they were trying to make since the beginning. From what I hear they contacted Nate even before they contacted me. But now Dana wants to go around saying that I ‘refused ‘to take this fight, and I don’t know if he’s going to try to use it against me in the future when another opportunity comes up where I can fight for the belt, and he’s going to say, ‘well, you had your opportunity and you said no.’
Per ESPN.com, Diaz has lost three of his last five fights and has 10 total losses on his resume, against 18 wins. He took Dos Anjos the distance in December of 2014, losing a decision, and will require McGregor to move up two full weight classes, adding a lot of intrigue to the upcoming bout.