While Conor McGregor’s team claims the former double champion’s sudden retirement on Tuesday had nothing to do with the news of a January charge for sexual assault breaking the same day, Chael Sonnen feels there is a very strong connection.
“I would not think that retiring, excluding yourself, taking yourself out of something very positive, very loved, very coveted as a means of strategy while having to deal with something so tremendous, would be wise,” Sonnen said on his semi-daily YouTube show. “I would think at a time like this you would keep as many friends and as many doors, and as many things open as you could.”
“The other side of that coin is that could easily tarnish the other entity. You may to come to somebody, or you have somebody come to you and go ‘Look, this is not going to be good branding, this is not going to be good timing. This is going to be a jam of the highest of levels, it is best if you step away.’”
“It is best if headlines do not come out that say ‘UFC star Conor McGregor’ fill in the blank,” Sonnen said of why McGregor announced his retirement via Twitter in the middle of the night. “How many times have we seen that? (Bellator CEO Scott) Coker’s had to go through that in the last 18 months. He had two knuckleheads that don’t even work for him anymore but used to, at some point, worked for him under contract, go and do something horrendous.
“Some old Bellator guy just robbed a bank. I couldn’t tell you his name, but I could tell you he’s a former Bellator fighter because that’s what the media says. What better way to describe Conor McGregor? Instead of just saying ‘Hey, Conor McGregor…’ No, they’re gonna attach it to a brand who did nothing wrong.”
“Maybe Conor in the spirit of sportsmanship (went) ‘Hey, you guys did a lot for me, I’mma get the hell out of your way for a little bit while I deal with this’ or maybe somebody else came to him and said ‘Hey, separate yourself and do it now,” Sonnen said of reasons how and why McGregor made the sudden announcement. “The shoe’s gonna drop, that’s your problem…’ Something more along these lines.”
Transcribed by Bloody Elbow