Lawler, MacDonald have no problem being co-main event to Aldo-McGregor
Back in May, UFC president Dana White revealed that the organization spent more money putting together the commercial promoting Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor at UFC 189 than any other in history.
The commercial features Aldo and McGregor surrounded by hordes of fans as the two featherweights meet in the center of a Las Vegas street before facing off in the Octagon.
Conspicuous by their absence in the commercial are welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and his opponent Rory MacDonald, who meet in the co-main event at UFC 189 on the same night. While UFC title fights are typically assembled from biggest weight class on down, the show on July 11 will feature the featherweights ahead of the welterweights for the first time in history.
While the bad blood between Aldo and McGregor is no secret, the UFC has never made an exception before now to bump back another championship fight from a bigger weight class, but the featherweight title bout could go down in history as one of the most profitable fights to ever take place inside the Octagon.
White has already predicted the show will do well over a million pay-per-view buys — a rare feat in that business these days and only a handful of UFC cards in the past have broken that same barrier.
As it turns out, neither Lawler or MacDonald seem to care much about being the co-main event to Aldo and McGregor either.
The way Lawler sees it, if he pretends that every fight is the main event it will bring out the best in his performance whether he’s actually the last fighter to walk out for the show or not.
"It didn’t bother me at all," Lawler told FOX Sports about being the co-main event at UFC 189. "I’m a business as usual kind of guy and it’s one of those things where I have been the first fight on the card and thought I was the main event.
It doesn’t matter where I’m at on the card, I’m the main event. That’s my mindset.
— Robbie Lawler
"So it doesn’t matter where I’m at on the card, I’m the main event. That’s my mindset. That’s been my mindset ever since I started fighting. I’m the guy everyone’s going to want to watch and that’s how I go out there and fight."
Lawler’s opponent feels very much the same way because he’s going to get paid the same whether he fights first, second or last.
MacDonald is more concerned about winning the UFC welterweight title and not so much about his placement on the fight card.
"Not at all. I don’t mind at all being co-main event to that fight," MacDonald said when speaking to FOX Sports. "It doesn’t make me any more or any less money fighting for the title, co-main event, main event it doesn’t make a difference. I get what I get no matter what with my current contract. It doesn’t matter to me right now."
Many fighters would argue just being part of what is expected to be the biggest card of 2015 is already a financial boon, MacDonald tries to leave business on the side when it comes time to actually stepping inside the Octagon.
While politics could always play a part with fight selection or even salaries, MacDonald says he never got involved with MMA to become a millionaire and he’ll never allow himself to be consumed by money as a reason to complain about his fights.
"I never started this for money," MacDonald said. "Obviously as it started to pick up you could make a career out of this, so it’s a factor, but that’s for outside of fighting when I’m at home dealing with that s–t.
"This is the time to focus on the fighting. The money and the financial stuff comes after. Right now, I’m doing what I love. All that s–t I’ll deal with later."
Lawler and MacDonald may not be the main event, but they may have to help carry the show next week depending on Aldo’s health and whether or not he actually ends up fighting.
As of now, Aldo is still expected to face McGregor but with bruised ribs and cartilage damage already confirmed there’s a chance he could drop out at any moment and No. 1 ranked featherweight contender Chad Mendes would step into replace him.