Nobody retires, then un-retires quite like Conor McGregor (pictured). Two days after unexpectedly announcing his exit from mixed martial arts at the age of 27, McGregor has announced Thursday morning that he is no longer retired.
There has been a lot of speculation as to why McGregor issued Tuesday’s cryptic and unexpected tweet stating, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”
UFC president Dana White said it was because McGregor refused to leave his training camp in Iceland in order to fly to Las Vegas to promote his UFC 200 rematch against Nate Diaz. There was speculation that McGregor was angling to score more money for headlining the historic event, which White emphatically denied, and it appears White is telling the truth (for a change).
McGregor finally addressed the drama today by clarify that he didn’t want to “hand out flyers” and get back to perfecting his craft. The UFC featherweight champion, who was submitted by Diaz at UFC 196 in a welterweight affair because Diaz accepted the fight on just 11 days notice, feels he needs to focus on how to refine his game in order to combat the larger Diaz the second time around.
“I am just trying to do my job and fight here,” McGregor wrote on his verified Facebook account. “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.”
“Notorious,” who by all accounts has always loved to be in front of the cameras, asked the UFC for some “leeway” on this one occasion since he’s looking to rebound from a loss, but the UFC wasn’t willing to budge. White pulled McGregor from the main event hours after he tweeted his “retirement.”
McGregor closes out his statement by addressing the USADA’s four-month holding period to drug test retired fighters who look to return to action by clarifying, in ALL CAPS (Pat Barry-style), “I AM NOT RETIRED.”
The UFC has yet to announce a new main event for UFC 200, however McGregor claims he’s still on track to serve as the show’s featured attraction. White said Tuesday that Diaz was flying into Vegas that evening to discuss other potential opponents, but didn’t specify if Diaz would remain in the UFC 200 lineup.
Given that the only reason McGregor was pulled from UFC 200 was for not wanting to promote the historic card, it’s hard to say he didn’t already do more than his fair share to hype UFC 200 by thumbing out just two social media posts in as many days.
Here’s to guessing McGregor vs. Diaz II once again gets top billing at UFC 200.
UFC 200 goes down July 9 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here is McGregor’s complete Facebook post:
I am just trying to do my job and fight here.
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.
Sitting in a car on the way to some dump in Conneticut or somewhere, to speak to Tim and Suzie on the nobody gives a fuck morning show did not get me this life.
Talking to some lady that deep down doesn’t give a fuck about what I’m doing, but just wants some sound bites so she can maybe get her little tight ass a nice raise, and I’m cool with that too, I’ve been giving you all raises. But I need to focus on me now.
I’m coming for my revenge here.
I flew an entire team to Portugal and to Iceland to make my adjustments in preparation and fix my errors I made with the weight and the cardio prep.
With the right adjustments and the right focus, I will finish what I started in that last fight.
I will not do this if I am back on the road handing out flyers again.
I will always play the game and play it better than anybody, but just for this one, where I am coming off a loss, I asked for some leeway where I can just train and focus. I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment.
But it was denied.
There had been 10 million dollars allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me.
So as a gesture of good will, I went and not only saved that 10 million dollars in promotion money, I then went and tripled it for them.
And all with one tweet.
Keep that 10 mill to promote the other bums that need it. My shows are good.
I must isolate myself now.
I am facing a taller, longer and heavier man. I need to prepare correctly this time.
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.
Nate’s little mush head looks good up on that stage these days. Stuff him in front of the camera for it.
He came in with no shit to do that last one. I’d already done press conferences, interviews and shot the ads before RDA pulled out.
Maybe I’ll hit Cabo this time and skull some shots pre-fight with no obligation.
I’m doing what I need for me now.
It is time to be selfish with my training again. It is the only way.
I feel the $400million 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.
I will offer, like I already did, to fly to New York for the big press conference that was scheduled, and then I will go back into training. With no distractions.
If this is not enough or they feel I have not deserved to sit this promotion run out this one time, well then I don’t know what to say.
For the record also –
For USADA and for the UFC and my contract stipulations –
I AM NOT RETIRED.