Former UFC fighter Dean Lister has warned Conor McGregor about the potential ramifications of fighting the Ultimate Fighting Championship brass.
Conor McGregor’s public dispute with the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion (UFC) has been the hot topic in MMA over the last number of weeks. It seems every day there is a another twist in the plot, followed immediately by another turn, leaving everyone wondering what will happen when it twists once again.
In an interview on the Obviously Fight Talk podcast, grappling ace and former UFC and PRIDE fighter Dean Lister gave his take on the situation, urging caution to the Irishman.
“If they do feel like you’re trying to outshine their event, I don’t think it’s good for your career,” he stated. “But of course they will treat you right if you’re making money for them, and you market yourself correctly like he has. He’s very smart. But maybe he shouldn’t push the buttons too much more.”
‘The Boogeyman’ fought six times under the UFC banner amassing a 4-2 record with the promotion. He appeared on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter reality television show, but not as a contestant, which he had originally planned, but filling the position of assistant grappling coach for Team Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz himself has had a fractured relationship with the UFC over the years following a career of public quarrels with the upper-management – most notably with UFC president Dana White. However, in a recent interview with Chael Sonnen on Sonnen’s podcast, he insisted that McGregor should not battle the promotion like he did.
“I made some bad decisions with the UFC, with Dana and I’ve been talked bad about from them from Dana, and I look back on it and wish I would have done things a lot different. I just, I hope Conor makes the right decisions, and at the same time, but makes the decision for his future.”
While Lister didn’t have any major public disputes with the organisation, he was right in the thick of it with Ortiz when the feud was at its fiercest. He has seen first-hand how these situations can escalate into something much worse, especially with Dana White.
“I’d say tone it down,” he told the hosts. “You know, just as far as with Dana [White]. He may not appreciate that eventually, because I was right in the middle of that with him and Tito, and, yeah, some guys over there can hold grudges. That’s the main line. They hold grudges and that’s not good for your future.”
Whenever there’s a labour dispute between a fighter and the UFC, debate sparks over the concept of fighter unionisation. Lister believes that while it would be beneficial to the fighter to have a body to represent them, the current mixed martial arts climate doesn’t lend itself to unionisation because many fear being “blacklisted” by the UFC.
“Yeah, that’s a taboo subject,” he laughed. “You know, as far as I know there’s been a couple fighters that tried, and they’re just blacklisted. They’re just blacklisted by UFC. [They] won’t even let you in the event. You can’t even come into the arena. I’ve heard that.”
He continued, saying that it would “take all the fighters in the world to get together” to make it happen.
Listen to the full interview below: