Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier’s respectful feud turned sinister after the American called his opponent out over THAT $500,000 donation… with less than a month to go until their third fight, the rivalry now has a nasty edge
- Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will settle their feud on July 10 in Las Vegas
- They currently have one victory each and enjoyed a largely respectful rivalry
- But things changed when Poirier accused McGregor of not paying a donation
- McGregor was so angry that he called the fight off before deciding to go ahead
- Now their feud has a bitter feeling as they approach the third and final chapter
At a time when trash talking and bluster surrounds any big UFC fight, it is rare to see two of the sport’s biggest stars so complimentary and respectful of each other’s ability.
It was perhaps more surprising to see Conor McGregor as one of those fighters but the Irishman was full of praise for Dustin Poirier after the American stunned him back in January.
‘I’m gutted, it’s a tough one to swallow,’ said McGregor after that chastening round two defeat on Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island.
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor were respectful rivals with their records at one win each
Poirier after the American stunned him back in January, claiming a knockout win in Abu Dhabi
‘I felt stronger than him, but his leg kicks were good. I didn’t adjust. My leg was badly compromised, I’ve never experienced those low calf kicks, and I wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be.
‘I have no excuses. It was a phenomenal performance by Dustin. I have to dust it off and come back. I need activity, you don’t get away with being inactive in this business.’
With their personal record now stood at one victory apiece following Poirier’s win, it was inevitable that there would be a third, deciding encounter.
But what wasn’t expected was that one of the UFC’s most respectful rivalries would turn into such a hostile relationship.
McGregor will take on the American on July 10 in front of a full house at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
But the fight was briefly on the rocks last month when Poirier publicly accused McGregor of ‘ghosting’ him and failing to deliver on a huge $500,000 (£355,000) donation that was promised to his foundation.
Their rivalry exploded when Poirier accused McGregor of not paying a charitable donation
McGregor responded furiously and cancelled their fight fight, calling his rival a ‘inbred hillbilly’
The Irishman’s offer to give $500,000 to the Good Fight Foundation, which has built water wells for a Ugandan orphanage and school, a playground for special needs children, and, most recently, provided transportation and tutoring for struggling youth through The Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, was one of the key reasons why Poirier had agreed to a trilogy fight.
The UFC star’s donation was reportedly set to go towards Poirier’s plan to build a gym in his hometown of Lafayette, where he would offer free training to youth in the area.
But McGregor did not take well to being called out in public.
The Irishman hit back, insisting that his team undertake their ‘due diligence’ to know what his donation will be put towards ‘dot to dot’ in a bid to explain the $500,000 no-show.
He went further, unleashing a tirade of abuse that ended the goodwill that had built up over the pair in recent years.
He added: ‘You’re ripped you inbred hillbilly. Why do you wink with your ears? You f***ing brain dead hillbilly. 500k with no plan in place. Ye hang tight. Fool. You must be new to money.
‘The fight is off btw. I’m going to fight someone else on the 10th. Good luck on your old contract kid.’
The duo are both in training now with less than four weeks to go until they come to blows
Just like that McGregor called the trilogy fight off. Whether it was a serious decision to not fight Poirier remains to be seen but the move worked in terms of bringing a nasty side to a rivalry that seemed respectful on the surface.
In the aftermath, Poirier expressed regret that he took his grievance public but insisted he ‘didn’t say anything untrue’. He also issued an apology online.
It read: ‘I am very passionate about my charity as you all know.
‘I jumped the gun and took my private matters between Conor and my foundation public. My mistake, we live, we learn. Spreading positivity and doing good is my goal.
‘I feel like I have brought a negative energy and personal opinions into something I am working so hard on that gives people a reason to cheer and smile.
‘I will take this in stride and continue to fight the good fight! New goal coming soon and it is a big one. Thank you to all who is involved and all the supporters who believe in our vision.’
McGregor recently taunted trilogy fight opponent Poirier with some customised sun glasses
The glasses contained an image of McGregor (right) beating Poirier (left) in UFC 178 in 2014
McGregor – never one to let somebody off the hook easily – responded by making a $500,000 donation to a charity in Poirier’s Louisiana home town – but not to his rivals’ own foundation.
A few days passed, tempers cooled and Dana White, much to his relief, got the fight back on track and set a date of July 10 in Las Vegas with a crowd of 20,000 fans.
Now both are deep in training with less than four week to go until fight night.
McGregor was the latest to stir the pot by tweeting an image of himself wearing sun glasses with a photograph of their 2014 encounter in the lens – which he won after just one minute and 46 seconds.
It will certainly not rile Poirier up. He was expected to pursue a shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s vacated lightweight title but instead opted to take a trilogy bout with McGregor, who has lost two of his last three UFC fights.
Speaking about that decision Poirier’s coach, Mike Brown, insists his fighter has made the correct choice ahead of what he expects to be the biggest PPV in UFC history.
Dana White revealed last month he’s looking for a back-up main event in case the fight is pulled
‘Yeah, this is the right choice,’ Brown told MMA Junkie. ‘Conor is the biggest draw in this sport, and I think this well sell more pay-per-views than any other fight.
‘This potentially will be the biggest pay-per-view of all time. It really has that capability, and it probably will. I believe that, and the title fight will always be there after.’
White admitted towards the end of last month that he is searching for a backup in case the mouthwatering fight between McGregor and Poirier falls through.
A shot at new lightweight champions Charles Oliveira is thought to be on offer for the winner but White conceded that he would have to watch the trilogy fight and see how it played out before potentially granting that request.
Scrambling for a back-up main event just weeks before fight night shows that maybe McGregor has still not got past Poirier’s allegations. It is that erratic nature that makes the Irishman so intriguing.
McGregor and Poirier’s relationship was possibly too respectful for such a savage sport and now they’re bitter enemies, the third fight promises to have an edge that the previous two were missing.
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