Conor McGregor, the biggest star in MMA, tweeted immediately following UFC 250 on Saturday night that he was done, he was retiring from fighting.
He’s done this before, but this time he spoke to ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani and explained why he’s walking away.
“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.”
The timing of the announcement seemed poised for maximum impact, which would lead one to believe that it was perhaps a negotiating tactic. McGregor has been in talks for his next fight for quite some time. UFC president Dana White keeps insisting that McGregor’s best option is to wait for Nurmagomedov and Gaethje to fight in September, then fight the winner.
From his return in January, however, McGregor has wanted to fight at least three times in 2020. That still seems to be what he had in mind, but now he is tiring of waiting for the right fight to appear, and apparently the way that the UFC is dealing with him.
“I’m a bit bored of the game,” he told ESPN. “I’m here watching the fight. I watched the last show — the [Tyron-Woodley-Gilbert Burns] show — I watched the show tonight. I’m just not excited about the game, Ariel. 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,” McGregor said. “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.”
With nothing seeming to make sense for him, McGregor is tiring of the wait as the world is in flames around him. A global pandemic. Uprisings over police brutality and racial injustice. Whether it is permanent or not, the Irishman appears ready to step away and clear his head, at a minimum.
“I had my goals, my plans, the season. I had everything laid out,” McGregor said. “Obviously the world has gone bleeding bonkers at the minute. There’s f— all happening at the minute. They want to throw me up and down weights and offer me stupid fights. I don’t really give a f—. I’m over it.”
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