Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — Conor McGregor is scheduled to face Michael Chandler in less than three weeks. At this point, various unknowns remain about whether the welterweight five-round fight will advance as initially planned.

Whether people intend to fly to Las Vegas or watch UFC 303 from the comfort of their homes, the lack of transparency from all parties involved is telling.

At UFC 302 June 1, the promotion unveiled the official trailer for McGregor vs. Chandler, which is still present on the ESPN MMA social media channels with over five million views and counting.

Outside of a statement from the UFC regarding a postponed press conference scheduled in Dublin, Ireland and various cryptic posts from McGregor and Chandler, which have spread across social media, there are no apparent signs that the fight is progressing.

“Dear UFC Fans-- The #UFC303 press conference scheduled for Monday, June 3rd, in Dublin, Ireland, at 3Arena has been postponed until further notice,” the statement read. “We sincerely apologize to all the fans who were planning to attend.  When we have further information on a new date and time, we will share it immediately. – Thank you.”

The cheapest ticket prices have dropped from over $1,000 to $691 on some secondary sites, assuming the fight is canceled. Other sources, including renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, have detailed signs of “positivity” that the fight will go off without a hitch.

At last glance, positivity is not confirmation. UFC 303 was thought to be the biggest gate in company history, not to mention the fact that McGregor, who turns 36 next month and has not won back-to-back fights in nearly eight years, nursed a devastating shin bone injury that has kept him inactive since a loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.

Plain and straightforward, McGregor is the biggest household name in MMA. The card can sell itself with him as part of one-half of the main event, as no title fights are scheduled. Without him, chances are slim to none.

It is also a reminder that the UFC is in the middle of five weeks of consecutive events, culminating with UFC 303, which was also thought to be the biggest fight of the summer with Las Vegas as its backdrop. It’s also the same weekend as the UFC’s 12th annual International Fight Week, a celebration of the sport of MMA and the UFC at large. Everything from a hall-of-fame ceremony to UFC “X” is part of it, making it a huge financial burden.

McGregor holds the most immense pay-per-view buy rate in UFC history, as 2.4 million purchased his blockbuster mega fight between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov in Oct. 2018, a fight McGregor ultimately lost.

The UFC is left in a bind, but this isn’t the first time this has happened with a significant event, nor will it be the last.

Answers are needed swiftly so the MMA world can breathe a sigh of relief ahead of June 29.

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