Conor McGregor appears to have failed in his bid to be reinstated for UFC 200, with UFC president Dana White declaring that his sensational axing from the card will stand in a power play against the Irish megastar.
White - who flagged Jon Jones v Daniel Cormier II as "a possibility" for a new main event - said McGregor's failure to front for today's UFC 200 press conference and other promotional work in Las Vegas had sealed his fate.
"It's an unpopular decision but it's the right decision," White said, in a move that will cost the UFC a marquee main event on what is planned as its biggest ever card, but also put an independence-seeking star in his place.
"You think I don't want Conor to fight? Of course I do, but it's not right. You can't not show up for this stuff, you can't do it.
"That's a bad precendent, that's not the deal.
"We get criticised a lot for bending too much to Conor - and we do. Conor is a guy that has stepped up and fought in big fights on short notice.
I respect Conor very much as a fighter and I like him, but you have to show up and do this stuff.
"We're spending 10 million on promotion for this fight and we can't even shoot a commercial for the main event?"
Asked if McGregor was 100 per cent off the UFC 200 card, White said, "Yes. Holy s**t", having declared a leave pass for the star was unfair to other fighters who showed up.
McGregor had his say on Twitter during the press conference:
Everyone flew in. Respect.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 22, 2016
But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months.
Stood-up opponent Nate Diaz had a classic reaction: "Conor got his ass beat."
White said Diaz would be found a new opponent. Yet Diaz immediately shot the president down, saying he didn't even want to fight at UFC 200 if it wasn't in the McGregor rematch - even after bouts against Georges St-Pierre and Robbie Lawler were flagged by a reporter.
"I came to fight Conor McGregor and I don't really have too much interest in anyone else," he said. "I don't have any interest in fighting at all. If that's what we were going to do, I thought we were going to do it.
"If we don't get that fight on, I'm going on vacation - for real."
White had to admit he might be having only a "short conversation" with Diaz about a replacement fight.
"The thing is, I didn't want to screw him out of UFC 200 if he wanted to fight," he said.
Asked if he cared that McGregor had skipped media duties, Diaz said: "Yeah, I don't care.
"He wanted to fight, I didn't even want the fight, I didn't ask for the fight, but they want to make this fight happen.
"It was going to be a big deal and if I'm going to fight, it's going to be a big deal because I've fought everyone for nothing all the time anyway.
"I want a big fight, big things, and if it's going to happen, then we're going to do it. If not, I'm not doing s**t, you know what I'm saying.
"If he wants to fight and he's not here... I'm don't know what these guys think, I don't care - whatever."
White's stance stood out as a power play after its star's rebellion. Asked why, when McGregor was willing to fight, Diaz only wanted to fight the Irishman and the fans badly wanted the fight why the bout could simply not go ahead, White said: "Next question."
As boos came from the crowd, he said: "I know, I know. Life's tough."
White said he still expected McGregor to return to the Octagon to fight the winner of UFC 200's interim featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
White said he expected that bout to take place at perhaps UFC 202, rather than be pushed out to the blockbuster UFC 205 card that will mark the promotion's debut in New York at Madison Square Garden.
Edgar said: "I think this fight should be for the vacant title right now, I don't think he's ever coming back down to 145 (pounds). I think me and Aldo should go for the real one now."
McGregor's rival, lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, put the boot into him by saying: "I think McGregor found a way to run away from Diaz again."
McGregor wanted reinstatement to the UFC 200 main event after being sensationally pulled from the card.
McGregor had a disagreement with UFC bosses over travelling from his training base in Iceland to a promotional week in Las Vegas, in the lead-up to Sunday's UFC 197 light-heavyweight title clash between Jon Jones and Ovince Saint-Preux.
After McGregor was told attendance was mandatory yet did not budge, he pre-empted his axing from the UFC 200 card by announcing his "retirement" on Twitter - only to backflip 48 hours later and declare he wanted the Nate Diaz rematch fight to go ahead.
Yet McGregor announced his non-retirement in the most inflammatory way, making it clear he was intent on getting more independence in his UFC in future and doing less promotional work.
"I am just trying to do my job and fight here," McGregor wrote in a lengthy Facebook post (edited extracts below).
"I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote.
"I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting.
"There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.
50 world tours, 200 press conferences, 1 million interviews, 2 million photo shoots, and at the end of it all I'm left looking down the barrel of a lens, staring defeat in the face, thinking of nothing but my incorrect fight preparation. And the many distractions that led to this.
Nothing else was going through my mind.
"It is time to go back and live the life that got me this life.
"I can not dance for you this time.
"It is time for the other monkeys to dance. I've danced us all the way here.
"I feel the $400 million I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside 8 months, is enough to get me this slight leeway.
"I am still ready to go for UFC 200."