With the McGregor/Mayweather several months in the rear-view mirror, Showtime Sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss, among other things, what it was like working with Conor McGregor.
As it turns out, not that great. McGregor routinely insulted Showtime during the press tour and called Espinoza various expletives live on stage.
“Look, I’ll always play it straight,” Espinoza said on Ferrall on the Bench. “(People asked whether) it was part of the sell, it was part of the act. No, it definitely was not discussed before, and it was not discussed after. Every time it happened, candidly, it surprised me. It’s sort of like he did it on a whim the first time and got such a reaction that he continued to do it.”
McGregor insulted Espinoza to his face, which caused quite a reaction among press-tour attendees. Espinoza, to his credit, showed great restraint.
“Look, I don’t like sitting there and letting someone call me names without reacting any more than anyone else would,” he said. “But the only thing that would make it worse than it was (would be) for me to go back at him. When you say F-Showtime and we’ve got literally an office full of people who are working weekends, working nights, giving up time with their kids and their spouses to make sure this event happens and happens well and essentially working 50, 60 hours a week to ultimately make sure there’s a successful event putting money in his pocket, that (was offensive). When I see the people who are working late everyday and he’s saying F-Showtime about all those people, that offended me more than the name-calling.”
Espinoza might partner with UFC again, but it would have to be under the right circumstances.
“It was unprecedented, it was historic – it even turned out to be a pretty entertaining fight,” Espinoza said of McGregor/Mayweather. “But I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like that again, quite honestly. Sure, there might be the personalities that support that kind event, but you sort of had a perfect storm. You had two once-in-a-lifetime personalities in this kind of event. I don’t think the UFC is in any rush to let other guys come over and (box). It’s not in their business model.”
Espinoza said “it would take a lot” for him to ever work with McGregor again.
“I can’t say never, and if there was the demand and people wanted to see something again, I’m not going to stand in the way of it because of any personal beef,” Espinoza said. “But I think it would take a lot. In certain ways, the act did wear thin. There were things that were said on the press tour and there was behavior – frankly from not just Conor. To be fair, it was on both sides. There are some things I wish hadn’t been said and hadn’t happened on that press tour. There are definitely pieces of it I’d do differently. At the end of the day, it was a historic event, it was a spectacle, but there were definitely points that I would do differently if we had to do it all over again.”