Despite the fact he flat out LIED -- Dana White tells TMZ Sports Conor McGregor's not in his dog house ... and he's considering re-booking the UFC superstar as early as UFC 201 in August.
White was leaving Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills ... on his way to support Paige VanZant at "Dancing with the Stars" ... when we asked WHY he thinks McGregor posted the fake fight confirmation on Twitter Monday morning.
"I don't know ... I don't know why he did," White said ... "I still have not talked to him."
Watch the clip. White once again praises McGregor as a guy who's saved countless fights for the UFC in the past, and even though he won't fight at UFC 200 ... it sounds like he definitely wants Conor back in the octagon before the end of the year.
Dana White is calling BS on Conor McGregor's alleged "retirement" -- saying he's very confident McGregor will fight again in the UFC within the next year.
The UFC honcho just appeared on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on FS1 and said despite pulling Conor from UFC 200, he's "not mad" at the guy ... claiming, "The show will roll on."
And get this ... White said there is STILL A CHANCE Conor could save his spot on the card and battle it out with Nate Diaz at UFC 200 ... but there's a VERY small window of opportunity to fix the situation.
When it comes to protection, headgear and padded gloves can actually make things MORE dangerous for an MMA fighter ... so says UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
We were asking Joe about the recent death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho -- who died following an MMA fight this weekend -- and if adding extra layers of padding could help prevent tragedies like this in the future.
While Joe said he didn't know about the specifics surrounding Joao's death, he made it clear he believes more padding is NOT the answer.
"It's actually better to have no pads," Joe said ... "You'll take less brain impact than with pads."
When asked specifically about forcing fighters to wear headgear during a match, Rogan says he wasn't keen on that either -- "There's actually an argument that wearing headgear is worse."
Joe explains more in the clip ... and says the bottom line with Joao is that his death is a tragedy.
Conor McGregor says he was ringside at the MMA fight in Dublin -- in which a fighter was beaten so badly, he died from his injuries ... and calls the whole situation "truly heartbreaking."
Conor was at the fight to watch his teammate Charlie Ward take on Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho. Joao lost by TKO in the 3rd round ... and died a few days later from head injuries suffered in the fight.
"Terrible news regarding Joao Carvalho," McGregor said in a statement.
"To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking."
"We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don't know how to take this."
"I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can't understand it."
"My condolences go out to Joao's family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all."
McGregor continued ... "It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us."
MMA star Tito Ortiz will NOT be prosecuted for an alleged battery that happened inside a Vegas nightclub back in February ... TMZ Sports has learned.
We broke the story ... cops were called to Drai's Nightclub on February 12th after a woman claimed Tito put hands on her and tried to grab her phone. The woman believes Tito went crazy because he thought she was secretly taking pictures of him.
Rosie O'Donnell's brother, New York State Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, just took the floor of the assembly and claimed mixed martial arts is like gay porn, but without a climax.
O'Donnell opposes a bill that would legalize MMA in New York. He believes the sport is thinly-veiled erotica, telling his colleagues, "Two half-naked hot men rolling around in a cage trying to dominate each other. It's basically gay porn, only with a different ending."
He went on to say his famous sister was for lifting the MMA ban in New York, but he feared it would trigger a rise in violence and gambling among young people, adding he was going home "to take a long shower" after discussing the prospect of legalizing MMA.
The assemblyman, who is gay, went on to call MMA "an alleged sport."
Matthew Titone, another openly gay Assemblyman, cracked a different gay joke during the hearing.
MMA fighter Dada 5000 is doing MUCH better after a frightening health scare following his fight with Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149 this past weekend ... so says Dada's rep.
We spoke with Mike Vazquez -- who says he was with Dada in the hospital following the fight -- and he tells us, "Dada is recovering well. On his feet and moving around. Back to his usual self."
"He should be out [of the hospital] by the end of the week and can personally address [then]."
Dada's family had issued a statement following the fight -- explaining that he had "accumulated extremely high levels of potassium in his blood which led to severe dehydration, fatigue and renal failure."
Kurt Angle could lay a real life smackdown on a real life fighter ... 'cause the wrestling legend says he's considering doing a real MMA fight -- and named Kimbo Slice as a possible opponent.
Angle -- who's been doing commentary for Bellator -- recently appeared on "The Roman Show" and was asked if he'd ever step out from behind the media desk ... and into the ring.
Angle says there's a VERY SMALL chance he agrees to a fight -- since he's 47 years old now -- but if it does happen, he's already thought about who he wants to fight.
"Of course, I'm not going to fight a guy in their prime," Angle said ... "It's obviously gonna be one of the older guys. But if it does come to fruition, it'll be a helluva fight, whether its Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn ... or even Royce Gracie."
He added, "If I do decide [to fight], it'll be with a Hall of Famer ... it won't be someone in their prime in their early 30s, no way, not now."