For the third time in four years, UFC sensation Conor McGregor has confirmed his retirement from the Octagon. The Irishman took to his official Twitter account to confirm that he decided to retire from fighting, before acknowledging his fans. McGregor accompanied his tweet with a picture of his mother, who he dedicated his career to.
McGregor, a former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion, has brought much to the sport of MMA. In fact, some casual fans believe the 31-year-old Irishman put MMA on the map as a credible sport, attracting the attention of the United States’ leading broadcasters, as well as sportsbooks like FOX Bet that have provided legalized wagering on MMA markets to bettors in New Jersey, Colorado and Pennsylvania for some time.
McGregor admitted in a recent interview that he had grown bored of the behind-closed-doors UFC spectacle, adding that he was not excited about recent shows. It’s this attitude which may have sparked his latest retirement, but many remain skeptical over whether this really is the end of McGregor’s fighting career. It’s not the first time that McGregor would make a stunning U-turn on his career. In April 2019, McGregor insisted he would no longer be fighting in the UFC, but returned to win in his most recent fight against Donald Cerrone. Sporting cynics would argue that McGregor’s faux retirements are merely to help build up his profile for future fights.
The news of McGregor’s supposed retirement was a surprise to UFC president Dana White, who was interviewed just hours after the Irishman’s decision. White said they weren’t in talks, so he didn’t know how serious the statement was. White appears to be somewhat frustrated at the line of attack from many UFC fighters in recent weeks, who have aimed their disappointment squarely at White. The UFC President displayed anger that the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Jon Jones are complaining of inadequate pay and threatening to leave the promotion. White insisted he was doing what he can in the face of the current climate.
On the subject of McGregor’s supposed retirement, White was in a philosophical mood, stating that he isn’t pressuring anybody to fight and that he retires if he feels the time is right. White added that McGregor was one of a handful of people that have made UFC really fun for him, helping to introduce the UFC globally.
Losing McGregor from the UFC brand would certainly be a major loss for the promotion. However, it wouldn’t be the first time. You only have to look back as recently as 2017 to when McGregor opted to take on five-division boxing world champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in a bout that was billed as the biggest fight in combat sports history. In the build-up to the fight, there was uncertainty surrounding whether it could go ahead given that McGregor was contractually obligated to perform at UFC events. Eventually, White was forced to relinquish his contract with the Irishman and allow him his payday.
McGregor would later return to the Octagon, although his behavior and that of his team left a lot to be desired in the aftermath of the Irishman’s defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Considering all that the sport has given him, pundit Joe Rogan has also argued that McGregor’s decision to announce his retirement in the middle of UFC 250’s 12-bout card was a major kick in the teeth to the organization. Rogan insisted that McGregor’s statement had hijacked the event and that the Irishman was merely trying to get the media to talk about him. It remains to be seen whether Rogan is proven right, but few would bet against McGregor returning to the Octagon before he reaches genuine retirement age.