Conor McGregor has an explanation for his absence from the Octagon.
The UFC star has not competed since October of last year and that fight—a lightweight champion bout opposite rival Khabib Nurmagomedov—remains his only MMA appearance since November 2016. In the year following that appearance, McGregor has been tied to bouts with several notable names, most recently former UFC champion Frankie Edgar, but none of the matchups have materialized.
On Tuesday at a media event in the Ukraine hosted by betting site Parimatch, McGregor spoke about the difficulties he’s had booking his next fight, claiming that he has proposed several dates and opponents to the UFC only to be shot down. As a result, the 31-year-old Irishman is hoping to put together a charity fight this December in his home country.
“Funny enough, I just want to compete now,” McGregor said. “I was trying to get the Dec. 14th card, for whatever reason they’ve been holding me back. I’m giving them dates, I’m saying I want to fight this date, this date, this date, this date in a row, and we had opponents selected and everything and they’re just making it very difficult for me for whatever reason.
“So now I’m kind of in a position where I’m attempting to set up a charity event. I’ve done this before in my hometown but I done it in an amateur boxing event at my old boxing club, Crumlin Boxing Club, but I want to do it in mixed martial arts competition also. Create an event, find an opponent, compete, zero prize. I do not care about the prize. The prize is in my home. I have five prizes in my home that I seek to get, I’ve got them. I just want to compete now, I want to come back, I want to get sharp, I want to show the best of myself and continue to climb. So that’s what I am seeking to do. So we are looking to do that sometime in December, hopefully have a charity mixed martial arts event for zero prize. The prize will go to charity, so that’s what we are aiming for.”
Regarding the Edgar bout, it appeared that McGregor and Edgar were on the same page based on comments made on social media, but when UFC president Dana White addressed the idea, he said it “makes no sense.”
That was a disappointment for McGregor, who was supposedly willing to fight Edgar for free.
“I even offered for the Frankie Edgar bout to donate my purse to charity,” McGregor said. “Because they were saying we won’t make enough money on the Frankie fight and I was like, I don’t care, don’t worry about me, give my purse to charity.
“But for whatever reason it’s being made difficult. Like I said, we’re almost there. It’s never easy with this crowd.”
While McGregor has not been actively competing in the UFC, he has remained in the headlines due to the occasional callout, both aimed at him and instigated by him, and also due to a series of out-of-the-cage incidents that have put his reputation into question. In August, video surfaced of McGregor allegedly punching a man at a Dublin pub this past April, resulting in an assault charge for the fighter (the case is ongoing).
McGregor is also reportedly under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred earlier this month. It is the second reported sexual assault allegation involving McGregor this year.
Neither McGregor nor UFC officials have made any indication on whether McGregor’s legal issues have played a part in his inactivity. McGregor did not address the reports on Tuesday.
When asked how many fights he expects to have left in his career, McGregor again pointed to the politics of the sport as the main reason for him being out of action.
“For me, I am looking at—I used to fight every couple of weeks before the UFC came, then it was every couple of months,” McGregor said. “Now the politics of [prize-fighting] got involved and it’s almost if I won and then I go off. I do not like that, you can’t be like that in this game. I must continue, consistency is another word, you must be consistent.
“Once we get the first one going and we get past the politics of this, I will continue to go. I’ve faced very little damage inside the Octagon so I’m eager to get going and continue. If I look at the run I had up to Eddie Alvarez when I won the second world title, it was consecutive bouts. Bout, bout, bout, so I went into that Eddie Alvarez fight sharp, aware, fully prepared. And what happened that night, one of the greatest performances in any title fight ever in the UFC. So that’s what we are looking to continue on in the next time. Again, analyze what went wrong in the past, analyze what went right in the past, use it to go forward to the future.”
No official date was given for McGregor’s proposed charity bout and he couldn’t say when he expected to fight in the UFC again, but he teased that an announcement was forthcoming.
“We’re very, very close to announcing it,” McGregor said. “Not just yet, but surely over the course of this trip we should have an announcement, so that’s what we were aiming for.”
See the full Ukraine presser below (courtesy of UkraineAtamansPRO):