The rumors swirled like mad on Tuesday when UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor tweeted, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”
A few hours later, although it did little to clear the smoke clouding the situation, UFC president Dana White told ESPN that McGregor was being pulled from the UFC 200 fight card because he was unwilling to come to Las Vegas and promote the fight.
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“Conor didn’t want to come to Las Vegas and be part of any promotional training,” White said on ESPN. “He’s in Iceland training.
“He felt leaving right now would hurt his training. But every other fighter on the card is coming. It doesn’t make you exempt. We spend a lot of money on this stuff.”
Just exactly what the timeline is between McGregor refusing to come to Las Vegas and his tweet about retirement hasn’t been explained. It would make sense that his tweet likely came after the disagreement with the UFC over coming to Las Vegas to promote the fight. It would appear to be a move on McGregor’s part to put his drawing power up against the UFC’s insistence on promoting its biggest card of the year.
As for White, he said he didn’t know whether or not McGregor was retired.
“Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he can answer that question,” White said. “I don’t know, but he will not be a part of UFC 200.”
The situation is obviously in a state of flux. Is this a no-turning-back move by the UFC or is it a reaction to McGregor refusing to come to Las Vegas this weekend? That remains to be seen.