Why the UFC’s special treatment of Conor McGregor is absurd

That Conor McGregor is by far the most powerful fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship was proven once again this week.

Not because of his physical strength, though the Irishman does have plenty of pop in his fists and feet.

Not because he is in line for yet another bumper payday when he headlines UFC 205 in November.

And not because he was picked to front the organization’s first show in New York City after state laws were changed to allow it.

It is because he is allowed to do pretty much whatever he likes.

McGregor will attempt to become the first fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously when he challenges lightweight titleholder Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden, which would be a great achievement if it was not completely unfair.

To be clear, Alvarez vs. McGregor is an appealing and potentially thrilling fight, well worthy of being the centerpiece of what promises to be a huge night for the sport.

However, the decision to allow McGregor to keep hold of his featherweight belt is nothing short of absurd.

The last time McGregor fought at featherweight was Dec. 12, when he claimed the title by knocking out Jose Aldo

He tried to get the lightweight strap next, only for then-champion Rafael dos Anjos to pull out with an injury. Up stepped Nate Diaz at short notice, and stunned McGregor with an upset, with the bout taking place at 170 pounds. McGregor wanted revenge, and eventually got it, when he fought Diaz in August.

Now the Alvarez fight looms and the featherweight division stagnates once more.

There are many sound business reasons why riding the McGregor money train for all it is worth makes sense. However, the UFC is sacrificing competitive credibility in the process.

The belts need to mean something and having McGregor be allowed to hold onto one of them for more than a year without fighting in the division cheapens the value in having the title in the first place.

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