MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Conor McGregor insists he’s not retired and hits out at UFC in emotional social media post

Irishman announces on Facebook that, “I AM NOT RETIRED,” and details why he sought a break from a promotional events

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 April, 2016, 9:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 April, 2016, 9:52am

Conor McGregor, in a stirring response to his Ultimate Fighting Championship superiors who pulled him off the UFC 200 main event, announced on Facebook on Thursday that, “I AM NOT RETIRED,” and detailed why he sought a break from a promotional event last Friday in Las Vegas.

I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting
Conor McGregor on Facebook

“I am just trying to do my job and fight here,” McGregor wrote. “I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting. There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop. Fifty world tours, 200 press conferences, one million interviews, two million photo shoots, and at the end of it all I’m left looking down the barrel of a lens, staring defeat in the face, thinking of nothing but my incorrect fight preparation. And the many distractions that led to this. Nothing else was going through my mind.”

McGregor’s charisma and quick wit accelerated the popular Irishman’s rise through the UFC featherweight division, where he stunningly ended the 10-year unbeaten run of champion Jose Aldo with a knockout punch 13 seconds into their December fight.

His promotional workload continued through March, where he was to fight lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos before a foot injury necessitated a replacement fight with Nate Diaz.

McGregor boldly accepted a fight at 170 pounds – 25 pounds above the featherweight limit – and paid the price, fatiguing with the extra weight and wobbling thanks to the bigger man’s punches in the second round, leading to Diaz’s submission victory.

McGregor wanted a rematch with Diaz and the UFC provided it to its most popular active fighter (with Ronda Rousey on the shelf).

But when UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White wanted McGregor to return from training in Iceland to attend a Friday UFC news conference, shoot commercials and participate in marketing work for the mega-event July 9 at the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, McGregor refused and went to Twitter to announce he was retiring.

Later Tuesday, White announced on ESPN he was pulling McGregor from UFC 200.

Thanks for the cheese: Conor McGregor announces shock retirement and is pulled from UFC 200 bill

McGregor’s Facebook response defended his pursuit of training, and even took a swipe at the UFC’s pandering to ESPN, leaking breaking news to the network amid posturing to leverage a bidding war versus Fox for UFC rights in the near future.

“It is time to go back and live the life that got me this life,” McGregor wrote. “Sitting in a car on the way to some dump in Connecticut [ESPN headquarters] or somewhere, to speak to Tim and Suzie on the nobody-gives-a-[expletive] morning show did not get me this life.

“Talking to some lady that deep down doesn’t give a [expletive] about what I’m doing, but just wants some sound bites so she can maybe get her little tight [rear] a nice raise, and I’m cool with that too, I’ve been giving you all raises. But I need to focus on me now. I’m coming for my revenge here.

“I flew an entire team to Portugal and to Iceland to make my adjustments in preparation and fix my errors I made with the weight and the cardio prep. With the right adjustments and the right focus, I will finish what I started in that last fight. I will not do this if I am back on the road handing out flyers again.

Stunning night at UFC 196 as underdogs Nate Diaz and Miesha Tate defeat McGregor and Holm in Las Vegas

I will always play the game and play it better than anybody, but just for this one, where I am coming off a loss, I asked for some leeway where I can just train and focus. I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment. But it was denied.

“There had been $10 million allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me. So as a gesture of good will, I went and not only saved that $10 million in promotion money, I then went and tripled it for them. And all with one tweet. Keep that 10 mill to promote the other bums that need it. My shows are good. I must isolate myself now.

“I am facing a taller, longer and heavier man. I need to prepare correctly this time. I can not dance for you this time. It is time for the other monkeys to dance. I’ve danced us all the way here.

“Nate’s little mush head looks good up on that stage these days. Stuff him in front of the camera for it. He came in with no [talk] to do that last one. I’d already done press conferences, interviews and shot the ads before [Dos Anjos] pulled out. Maybe I’ll hit Cabo this time and skull some shots pre-fight with no obligation. I’m doing what I need for me now.

“It is time to be selfish with my training again. It is the only way. I feel the $400 million I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside eight months, is enough to get me this slight leeway.

“I am still ready to go for UFC 200. I will offer, like I already did, to fly to New York for the big press conference that was scheduled, and then I will go back into training. With no distractions.

“If this is not enough or they feel I have not deserved to sit this promotion run out this one time, well then I don’t know what to say. For the record also — for [the US Anti-Doping Agency] and for the UFC and my contract stipulations — I AM NOT RETIRED.”

Expect a UFC response in short order.