Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh says the UFC is "going too far" with plans to keep the Irish megastar from fighting on the landmark UFC 205 card in New York.
McGregor remains frozen out of UFC 200, planned as the promotion's biggest ever event, after snubbing promotional work in Las Vegas.
While Dana White confirmed McGregor was off the 200 card on Saturday, what got less attention in the furore was White stating that McGregor's planned featherweight title defence against the winner of Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar would not feature in the UFC's debut at Madison Square Garden.
"Conor probably wouldn't fight in New York either, he'll probably fight - depending on what happens to these two (Aldo and Edgar), how they come out of this fight - in 202 or something like that," White said at the UFC 200 press conference.
Asked again about McGregor for the 205 card, White reiterated: "He would fight before that."
Kavanagh told MMAFighting.com's The MMA Hour: "That was hard to hear.
"I really think that's going too far. [McGregor] was bold, but it wasn't anything that bad. If we get the slap on the wrist for 200, we definitely can't be put on the naughty [list] for New York.
"As an Irish guy in New York, the first card in Madison Square Garden, I think Conor would show up anyway and fight someone in a changing room if [White] doesn't put him on the card," Kavanagh added. "We have to be put on the New York card."
Keeping McGregor off two of the biggest cards in UFC history, despite his standing as the organisation's most popular male fighter, smacks of a severe punitive backlash against the Irish megastar for his recent rebellion. And it seems the UFC is willing to deliver at any cost the message that McGregor is not bigger than the promotion.
Is has been estimated that McGregor's absence from UFC 200 on July 9 (July 10 Australian time) would cost the UFC $45 million in lost revenues. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal says 12.9 per cent of residents in New York State claim Irish heritage and 5.3 per cent of NYC are Irish-Americans, emphasising what a major draw McGregor would be for UFC 205 - especially given a potential opponent, Edgar, is from nearby New Jersey.
Yet White has reiterated his stance, telling TMZ to expect a McGregor fight before UFC 205.
"I don't know why he did, I still haven't talked to him. We had a whole press conference about this. I just don't know how much more clear I can make it. I laid it out," White said.
"I've said it a million times -- Conor has stepped up and saved big fights for us. I have no hard feelings for Conor. Conor's his own guy, he's going to do what he's going to do but he's not fighting on [UFC] 200. Listen, he'll fight on 201, 202, 203, whatever, I don't know when, but we'll get it figured out."
UFC 205 will be held on November 12 (November 13 Australian time). Perhaps McGregor's only chance of a fight on the card would be if he is named to fight ASAP after UFC 200 and commits to a rapid turnaround for a fight at The Garden. Or, the increasingly unlikely event that his UFC 200 main event against Nate Diaz is saved and he is the pencilled in to fight Aldo/Edgar in New York four months later.