The announcement came Tuesday that pop star Demi Lovato will sing the national anthem before Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night, but news that Imelda May would sing the Irish national anthem didn’t break until less than 24 hours before the fight.
According to UFC president Dana White, the task of finding a singer to sing the anthem of McGregor’s home country was placed on his shoulders with less than a week until the fight.
White told the media Thursday that a singer had been booked, but didn’t yet reveal it was May. Instead, he told of his frustrations with looking for a singer at the last minute.
“Showtime basically popped it on us two days ago,” White told reporters, via MMA Fighting. “What do you mean we have to? This is your show.
“I was trying to call Ireland at all the wrong times. I called Bono first and he said he wanted to do it, but he’s got a wedding this weekend. You can’t call somebody like these guys on three days’ notice, so we’re very lucky that we pulled this off.”
The UFC doesn’t have performances of anthems prior to fights, although Sinead O’Connor did a live performance of “The Foggy Dew” during McGregor’s walk to the octagon to face Chad Mendes at UFC 189.
It’s not the first time White or McGregor have accused Showtime of trying to make the UFC star look bad. In July, McGregor called Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza a “weasel” during a promotional tour stop in Toronto.
McGregor accused Espinoza and the network of cutting off his microphone during a stop in Los Angeles after he frequently interrupted Mayweather with taunts. White agreed with McGregor and said he also thought Showtime cut the microphone.
With fight weekend finally here, Showtime is still getting on the nerves of White, but that will finally be a moot point when McGregor and Mayweather meet Saturday night.