Islam Makhachev is spotted backstage at the UFC 267 ceremonial weigh-ins at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. | Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
“It’s like I always say, this is not a true sport, this is entertainment first, sport second.”
American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez believes Conor McGregor will get the next lightweight title shot over Islam Makhachev even if the latter beats Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 49.
Mendez, who coaches Makhachev alongside former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, understands the UFC is ‘entertainment first, sport second’.
“That’s part of the game. He carries the big numbers, so whatever the UFC decides. I’m expecting anything can happen with the guy that has the power to do that. Do I like it? Absolutely not. But do I have a choice? Absolutely not,” Mendez told Submission Radio in a recent interview. “To me the rankings are bulls**t. They always have been bullshit. They’re still bulls**t. So, I don’t really care about the rankings.”
“Whoever gets that opportunity, it’s like I always say, this is not a true sport, this is entertainment first, sport second. In the entertainment value, the UFC wants the most money,” Mendez added. “Who’s going to create the most money for them? That’s where they’re going to go. And guess what? That’s what they’re going to do,” Mendez continued about Conor McGregor. “So, we’ll see what the UFC wants. I’m prepared for whatever they do, and I’m not going to be upset one way or another. Do I think it’s fair? Absolutely not. If Islam doesn’t get the title fight should he beat Bobby, it’s not fair. But nothing is fair. Look what Khabib had to do to get to where he was at. He had to go through a lot of crap too.”
McGregor getting a title shot after dropping back-to-back stoppage losses to Dustin Poirier is highly unlikely but, with ‘The Notorious’, anything is possible. McGregor is the biggest star in the history of the sport and, at this point of his career, feels quite entitled to a title shot based on name value alone.
Makhachev, on the other hand, will look to make his case for number one contendership by disposing of Green at this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The No. 4-ranked lightweight is riding a nine-fight win streak, with notable stoppage victories over Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, and Drew Dober.