It has been six days now since the first reports of a potential fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather emerged.
Since then, speculation about the "mega-fight" has only increased, thanks in part to comments and social media posts by the two respective fighters.
Message from the boss
One man who has been conspicuous by his absence during the debate so far has been Dana White. Now, though, the UFC president has broken his silence to deliver a message to Floyd Mayweather.
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"[UFC and boxing] are two completely different sports," White said on Thursday during an appearance on Fox Sports' 'The Herd with Colin Cowherd' show.
"First of all, Conor McGregor is under contract with the UFC. So if Floyd wants to come out of retirement and fight Conor McGregor...call me, Floyd. Call me."
Although McGregor and the UFC hierarchy have been in something of a standoff in recent weeks following a dispute over the Irishman's media obligations, White is correct in highlighting The Notorious One's commitment to the UFC.
McGregor might not currently be scheduled to fight at any upcoming UFC pay-per-views, but his contract with the MMA outfit means that they, and White specifically, would have to give any potential boxing match the all-clear.
At this point, that is something that seems highly unlikely considering the risks associated with fighting a 49-0 boxing great, not to mention the profits UFC would be missing out on.
With his comments, White has put the ball firmly in Mayweather's court. If the retired boxer is serious about returning to take on McGregor, he now knows which number he has to call to take negotiations to the next stage.
Mayweather and White do actually have a long-standing working relationship, although they have been involved in verbal sparring matches in the recent past:
"Floyd and I go way back to the amateurs," the UFC president explained. "We've known each other for a long time...
"We go at each other sometimes, but, at the end of the day, we've known each other for a long time."
The fact, then, that Mayweather's team do not appear to have made any attempt to contact White to this point, casts more doubt over The Sun's original claim that a fight against McGregor was "on the verge" of being agreed last week.
As White has made clear, even if both McGregor and Mayweather want to go ahead with any such bout, nothing can be agreed until he has signed it off.
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