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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Conor McGregor offered US$5 million to fight Chinese kick-boxer, claims coach John Kavanagh

  • ‘Well-known’ promoter reaches out to UFC star’s camp
  • ‘Legitimate’ offer for a three-round fight is proposed
PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 1:18pm

Conor McGregor was offered US$5 million to fight an unnamed Chinese kick-boxer, the MMA star’s coach has claimed.

John Kavanagh told the True Geordie Podcast he had received the offer as he discussed Floyd Mayweather’s on-again, off-again fight with Japanese kick-boxing prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa.

“I’ll give you a funny one,” the Irishman said. “I had a guy message me just a few days ago. A Chinese kick-boxer wanted to do three rounds with Conor for US$5 million.”

Mayweather cancelled a three-round fight with Nasukawa scheduled for New Year’s Eve in Saitama, near Tokyo, after claiming promoters the Rizin Fighting Federation had changed the initial agreement.

The undefeated American boxer, 41, claimed it was only meant to be a private exhibition in front of a group of wealthy investors, and pulled out three days after appearing at a press conference in Tokyo.

Mayweather has since said the fight is “a no-brainer” with Rizin saying negotiations are back on, but Kavanagh said UFC star McGregor – who faced Mayweather in a mega-money boxing bout last year – would never take up such a fight.

“And he was going to put it in escrow,” Kavanagh said of the offer. “It wasn’t just like he was [joking]. Because again, I get a million messages like that a day, but you just don’t pay attention.

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“But this guy was connected and it was a legitimate offer. But I know he [McGregor] wouldn’t [do it]. You get the odd funny message like that. And, like I said, it was genuine.

“I know the boxing promoter well and he’s very well known. So he wasn’t going to come with an offer that wasn’t legitimate.”

Social media users have speculated that the mystery Chinese kick-boxer could be martial artist Yi Long.

The 1.75-metres tall Shaolin monk is a sanshou and wushu expert, with a kick-boxing record of 61-12-1. Earlier this month he defeated 2.1-metre South Korean kick-boxer Choi Hong-man with a spinning back kick to the body in Macau for new knockout-only promotion MAS Fight’s launch event.

Yi has also fought Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek twice, with one win for each fighter.

However, even if McGregor did have interest in fighting Yi, UFC president Dana White is unlikely to allow him to do it.

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McGregor has five fights left on a new UFC deal he signed before his fourth-round submission defeat by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov last month.

The 30-year-old could also be suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following the post-fight brawl between the two fighters’ teams in Las Vegas.