Conor McGregor came out of nowhere to announce his retirement from fighting following UFC 250 on Saturday. Though it was a bit of a sideswipe, UFC president Dana White was not surprised. After all, the with the current state of the world, not much surprises him any more.
“Conor McGregor is frustrated right now because … I mean, look what’s going on. Look at what we’re pulling off. We’re literally just going to Yaz Island right now to pull off these fights because the hardest thing to do right now is to get people into the country from other parts of the world,” White told ESPN’s First Take.
“We are a true global business. We’re the only ones that are pulling off live sports right now. If I continue to do fights in the United States, I’m going to burn out all of my American talent. So now we’ve got Yaz Island ready to go. It’s set up.”
So what does that have to do with McGregor being frustrated? Well, having UFC Fight Island ready to roll should open up many more opportunities for many more athletes to begin competing again. That could open the door for an opponent that might tempt McGregor back to the Octagon.
Right now, McGregor doesn’t see much that excites him, thus his recent retirement announcement.
He wanted UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but he was lined up with Tony Ferguson. Then, when Khabib had to drop out because of Russia’s lockdown, Justin Gaethje stepped in to fight Ferguson. Gaethje won, earning a shot at Khabib.
According to White, McGregor wants a fight with Gaethje or Khabib, but that’s not going to happen right now. Gaethje earned his shot at Khabib, which is a position that White says McGregor could be in right now, but declined.
“This is just a matter of Conor being frustrated, I think, and that he can’t get what he wants right now. It’s just not possible. He wants to fight (Justin) Gaethje. Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib. He just beat Tony Ferguson,” White said.
“Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out. He came back and said, ‘I’m not a replacement fighter. I’m not gonna do it.’ He would be in that position right now if he took the fight. He didn’t; Gaethje did; so Gaethje gets it.”
(Video courtesy of UFC)
Dana White not surprised by Conor McGregor retirement announcement
(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)