UFC featherweight champion and pay-per-view star Conor McGregor shocked the sports world yesterday when he tweeted, “I have decided to retire young.” Immediately the speculation began swirling about whether or not the announcement was real, and if it was, what led him to retire? UFC President Dana White thinks the tweet came out of frustration after McGregor and White couldn’t agree on proper UFC 200 fight promotion, which led to White yanking him from the July 9th card.
“We’d been going back and forth over this whole press conference and commercial thing,” White said on The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday. “He’s young, he’s emotional, and I believe that’s what that was. Do I believe he’s retiring? I don’t. But if he is, I wish him well.
“Conor McGregor will fight again I believe,” White said. “He’s a young guy, he’s a proud guy, he’s very opinionated. I think yesterday his tweet was out of frustration and not the true desire to retire.”
White added that it doesn’t matter how big of a star you are in the UFC, you have to be a part of the fight’s promotion and McGregor did not want to be.
“The reality one time in the history of us owning the UFC, a guy didn’t show up for a press conference. It was Nick Diaz against GSP, and I pulled Nick Diaz from the fight,” White said. “You can’t not show up to promote your fight. Especially it’s UFC 200. We’re spending like 10 million dollars in commercials and advertising and everything else, and he’s the main event, and he’s not going to be a part of it? It doesn’t work that way.”
Reports of McGregor wanting $10 million to fight at UFC 200 and the company saying no being the reason why he decided to retire are completely fabricated, according to White.
“That is a flat out disgusting lie. It’s a lie,” White said adamantly. “There’s so many hacks out there on the Internet writing stories that are completely false. Conor McGregor has never agreed to fight then come back and ask for more money. He’s never done that. He’s not like that.”
White did say McGregor still has a small window to be added back to what could be the company’s biggest pay-per-view card ever, UFC 200.
“So we have this entire film crew in here from L.A., and we’re going to film a cool commercial for this thing, and we’re filming it over the next three days, and the press conference is on Friday. But yeah, if Conor is here for that stuff, than he’s fighting.”
The UFC has already started making contingency plans for McGregor’s replacement at UFC 200, and White says there’s no bridges burnt between the UFC and McGregor.
“I’m not mad at Conor McGregor at all. I have no ill-will towards him whatsoever,” White said. “Listen, he’s a big boy he made a decision not to fight at two hundred he knows what that means to him. Listen, I got three months to go and a lot of people who want to fight on it.”