Conor McGregor‘s much-anticipated return to the octagon faces another hurdle. Last week’s cancellation of the Dublin press conference raised doubts about his UFC bout with Michael Chandler, before assurance that the fight was still on. However, the story has taken yet another twist following the recent update by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.

After lengthy negotiations, UFC CEO Dana White, McGregor had finally landed a fight against Michael Chandler on June 29. In fact, in May, White announced that the expected gate for UFC 303: McGregor vs Chandler will be over $20 million. Despite the high anticipation, uncertainty has dampened the enthusiasm around the fight.

“Pessimism” surrounds McGregor-Chandler fight, UFC looking for replacement


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Earlier, it was rumored that McGregor’s involvement was in doubt due to an injury but those claims weren’t verified. But McGregor added spice to those rumors after posting a picture on Instagram, where he was lying down on a physio’s chair and smiling. Moreover, last week Michael Chandler clarified the situation regarding the cancellation of the press conference by Conor McGregor on 3 June and confirmed the fight will happen.

According to Helwani, the situation was quite different last week with optimism around the fight. “Around this time last week, all the anxiety surrounding the UFC 303 main event seemed to start to dissipate. By Wednesday, no more feelers about replacements were being sent out.” 

But Helwani’s latest update suggest the situation isn’t rosy. In his tweet he noted, “Since this morning, mutiple sources are now saying feelers are being sent out again for June 29. For a replacement and/or new fight(s). In short, there seems to pessimism all over again regarding the status of the 303 main event. Actually even more pessimism – it seems – than on Monday last week after the presser was cancelled at the last minute.”

Furthermore, Ariel Helwani didn’t stop there. He questioned the situation asking Conor McGregor and the UFC, “Is this insurance? Due diligence? Emergency replacement mode?” He also emphasized that it’s unclear whether we’ll see the “Notorious” return.

After the cancelation of the press conference, McGregor had also apologized in a tweet, while assuring the bout will go ahead. “In consultation with the UFC, todays press conference was cancelled due to a series of obstacles outside of our control. I apologize to my Irish fans, and fans around the world, for the inconvenience and appreciate all your passion and support. I can’t wait to put on the greatest all-time show in the Octagon,” he said.

The former champion was eyeing a return to the octagon since his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. The fight ended in the first round when the Irishman broke his ankle.

As of Wednesday, neither the UFC nor any official representative, including Michael Chandler (who was previously very active on social media), have commented on the fight’s status. This lack of information has led some to speculate that the recent buzz might simply be a promotional tactic.

But why is UFC silent? There can be two reasons. First, it might be possible that the promotion is itself unsure about what will happen. McGregor has never pulled out of a fight before. So it is possible that McGregor will likely make a last minute decision, given the uncertainity around the fight.

The other reason could be if UFC loses its main event, it will have to refund people. The Nevada State Athletic Commission rules say that if a main event of a combat sports card isn’t delivered, refunds must be offered. With Dana White already claiming that the gate for UFC 303 will be over $20 million, the promotion won’t be keen on providing refunds.


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However, last week, the UFC greenlit the fight to appease the fans, clearly stating it would happen on June 29th. This suggests the earlier cancellation fight post might not have been entirely accurate, though Michael Chandler’s explanation offered a different perspective.

Chandler speaks out on possible McGregor bout

When Conor McGregor announced the cancellation of the fight at the Dublin press conference, Mishel Chandler expressed frustration. He stated on now-defunct social media platform X (formally known as Twitter), that life goes on and people could find him in his Tennessee hometown if needed. This, coming from someone who had likely been away from home for training, raised concerns about the fight’s status. However, Chandler later clarified the situation and offered a different explanation, seemingly contradicting his initial tweet.


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After the Dublin press conference got scrapped, Chandler went on “The Pivot Podcast” to clear the air. The host pressed him about the fight’s status, and Chandler shut down any doubts. “The fight is happening, yeah, where we are right now, there’s a lot of speculation but yeah the fight is happening on June 29th.

However, The recent post from Ariel Helwani suggested something else. The UFC’s silence and reluctant behavior on this matter are testing the patience of their fans. Now, the future of UFC 303 seems uncertain, with no updates from officials. If there are any further developments, we will update you as soon as possible.