Conor McGregor has gone from ‘Mixed Martial Art’, as he called it. One tweet to say sayonara. A fighting egotist’s message to say he was Mixed Martial Arts. Don’t believe a word of it. Retirement is a loose word on the lips of many fighters, especially the ones who earn mega-bucks.
Forbes estimates McGregor’s wealth at $100million, so just treat today’s 140-character outburst as an early April Fool’s.
McGregor’s retirement statement has not been taken seriously by everyone in the mixed martial arts world, with many believing it’s nothing more than a negotiation tactic. I agree with that. McGregor needs to do nothing more than go through a camp and step inside the UFC’s Octagon to earn a minimum of $20million, at the baseline. Add in Nate Diaz, or Khabib Nurmagomedov, and that could rise to $30million.
The strange thing is that UFC president Dana White was going along with it, seemingly agreeing that we may have seen the last of the Irishman. “He has the money to retire and his whiskey is killinn (sic) it,” White told ESPN, their huge broadcast partner. “It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire too. He’s retiring from fighting. Not from working.”
Frankly, it just smacks of a publicity stunt, with the fighter returning in the summer. He doesn’t need them; but they need him. In one fight, he can earn the UFC profit upwards of $100 million.
Regardless, the tweet from McGregor was a volte-face. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on mainstream US TV on Monday night, which aired a few hours before his retirement declaration (though it was recorded several days ago), the Dubliner claimed negotiations over his return are still ongoing. “My next fight, we’re in talks for July,” McGregor relayed to Fallon.
“So we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of politics and things going on. The fight game is a mad game. But again, as I said, and to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready. There are many opponents. In reality, I can pick who I please.”
So there you go. McGregor, now 30, hasn’t set foot inside the Octagon since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October in the main event of UFC 229. It was an ugly melee along with the action that followed, of course, with both men having brought the sport into disrepute.
You can’t rule the idea of retirement out altogether, of course, and there is the very very slightest chance that the irascible Irishman has saddled up his belts and swung out of the last saloon in town with a fistful of dollars and panniers full of Proper No. Twelve Whiskey.
But based on past experience, I doubt it…