If this is an April Fools’ joke, then Conor McGregor (pictured) is 18 days late to the party. On Tuesday, the UFC featherweight champion unceremoniously announced his retirement from mixed martial arts via Twitter.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Neither the UFC nor anyone from McGregor’s camp were able to confirm the legitimacy behind the tweet at the time of publication.
McGregor’s surprising post comes one week after teammate Joao Carvalho died from injuries suffered during a fight earlier this month in Ireland. McGregor was sitting cageside at the bout and appeared devastated by writing on his verified Facebook account, “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.”
McGregor’s longtime coach and confidant, John Kavanagh, started a Go Fund Me page to help Carvalho’s family pay for his funeral services.
Oddly, just three days ago McGregor tweeted a picture of him and Kavanagh after a training session claiming to be, “Hungry like day 1.”
Kavanagh issued a tweet shortly after McGregor announced his retirement.
Well was fun while it lasted
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) April 19, 2016
McGregor is currently scheduled to headline July 9’s historic UFC 200 event against Nate Diaz. Diaz served up one of the biggest upset specials in MMA history when he submitted the boisterous Irishman at UFC 196 after accepting the tango on just 11 days’ notice.
If March’s devastating defeat to Diaz marked McGregor’s last contest, the 27-year-old will have plenty of money to retire on. Prior to the bout, McGregor, who has never been shy about expressing his undying love for money, boasted that he would “breeze past $10 million” after receiving his piece of UFC 196’s pay-per-view pie.
“Notorious” has pushed or passed UFC records for live gate revenue and PPV buys in his past three outings.
McGregor’s primary income immediately before joining the UFC was Ireland’s form of welfare.
McGregor and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey are the sport’s biggest mainstream superstars. In hopes of following in Rousey’s Hollywood footsteps, McGregor has talked about staring in movies.
McGregor owns a 19-3 professional MMA record, going 7-1 since joining the UFC in 2013. He captured the UFC featherweight crown by knocking out former king Jose Aldo in a championship record time 13 seconds prior to losing to Diaz in a welterweight affair.