Why Did Conor McGregor Retire From MMA?

It appears as though Conor McGregor does not see anything when it comes to the UFC’s active competitors.

The former UFC Lightweight and Featherweight Champion spoke to ESPN early Sunday morning regarding his future. Right after UFC 250, where Amanda Nunes dominated Felicia Spencer to retain the UFC Featherweight Title, McGregor announced his intentions to retire on Twitter. He credited the idea of him having to wait for fights and opponents as one of the main reasons.

“The game just does not excite me, and that’s that,” McGregor said. “All this waiting around. There’s nothing happening. I’m going through opponent options, and there’s nothing really there at the minute. There’s nothing that’s exciting me.

“They should have just kept the ball rolling. I mean, why are they pushing [Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje] back to September? You know what’s going to happen in September, something else is going to happen in September, and that’s not going to happen. I laid out a plan and a method that was the right move, the right methods to go with. And they always want to balk at that and not make it happen or just drag it on. Whatever I say, they want to go against it to show some kind of power. They should have just done the fight — me and Justin for the interim title — and just kept the ball rolling.”

McGregor (22-4) appeared to have made it “official” with a cake celebrating the end of his career.

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After Justin Gaethje won the interim UFC Lightweight Title at UFC 249 against Tony Ferguson, McGregor called him out and told him he was coming for his belt. This came after he said he would observe the fight and was interested in competing on “Fight Island” at some point. There were also rumors of him potentially facing Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Title. Several other fighters have called him out in hopes of a huge payday and exposure.

This is not the first time McGregor has teased leaving the world of combat sports. Back in 2016, after failing to fulfill media obligations, McGregor retired before UFC 200. Saying, “Thanks for the cheese”, McGregor left and came back in time to face Nate Diaz in a rematch at UFC 202. In the rematch, McGregor won via majority decision. He then retired from mixed martial arts in March 2019 to work on contract negotiations. This was during a time when legal issues were surrounding McGregor following his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

Recently, McGregor returned to the octagon, beating Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246 in January. Even though there are exciting matchups for him, McGregor doesn’t appear interested in anyone. He even tried to stir the pot for an Anderson Silva fight just to feel something. He claimed nothing of note excited him regarding MMA anymore.

“I’m a bit bored of the game,” McGregor went on to say. “I’m here watching the fight. I watched the last show — the [Tyron-WoodleyGilbert Burns] show — I watched the show tonight. I’m just not excited about the game, Ariel (Helwani). I don’t know if it’s no crowd. I don’t know what it is. There’s just no buzz for me.

“There’s nothing there for me. I’m trying to get excited. I’m trying my best. And when the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, s—, that’s a mad fight. And then everyone said he’s old and over the hill. I was, like, ‘What? Fighting a former light heavyweight and the middleweight GOAT, and the actual GOAT in my eyes, that’s not a rewardable fight?’ And you know, you’re actually right. It wouldn’t be rewarded. I would go in there and put him away, Ariel, and then what would happen? They’d say he’s old and he’s over the hill and he’s past his prime and all.”

At 31, McGregor has managed to make himself a huge entity within the mixed martial arts world. McGregor bet on himself and made over $100 million in a boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather.

The UFC has been complying with the Nevada Athletic Commission to figure out ways to handle the coronavirus situation. The promotion is also dealing with multiple fighters looking to exit the promotion due to contract disputes. UFC President Dana White ended up discussing the situation after UFC 250. He stated he understood and was OK with whatever McGregor did.

“Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight,” White said. “And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement — you should absolutely do it. And I love Conor. … There’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me. And he’s one of them.”

Stay tuned, as the drama surrounding McGregor may be far from over.

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