McGregor Still “Ready to go” for UFC 200 after “Retirement”

On Tuesday afternoon “The Notorious” Conor McGregor broke the internet after announcing that he had “decided to retire young” before thanking the world for the “cheese” he earned inside the UFC’s Octagon.

Having read UFC veteran Chael Sonnen’s “The Voice of Reason: A VIP Pass to Enlightenment” and being schooled that in Sonnen’s opinion, retirement means a return to action after six months, I didn’t buy it–and for once, I was right.

Amidst the chaos that followed and the aftermath of witnessing what would later come to end the life of Joao Carvalho, which some speculated (something I wanted to avoid and that resulted in the intentional delay of this work) to be the reason for the alleged exit, the UFC pulled Conor from UFC 200.

UFC President Dana White confirmed that Conor did not want to perform promotional duties for the event. Conor released this statement on Facebook yesterday morning [sic]:

“I am just trying to do my job and fight here. 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.”

Read the statement in it’s entirety here.

What it appears that McGregor wants most is to get back to basics; refine the techniques that brought him to the dance after being submitted by Nate Diaz at UFC 196. He has most recently been training while spending time in Iceland, but White said that (at least for 200) McGregor vs. Diaz II is off.

ESPN UFC Analyst Brett Okamoto offered his two cents on SportsCenter in a must-watch video.

Still over two months out from the event, UFC officials have yet to announce a new headliner for the July 9 show. Additionally, with McGregor’s retirement tweet being nothing more that click bait/ a talking point, he still hold the UFC Featherweight championship.

My Take

With this and most of my work being Op-Ed, I’ve never made any effort to hide being a fan of McGregor. Still, this is a complex situation.

If you’re the UFC: Fights may still happen without intense promotion, but that won’t keep a company going for long. In the absence of Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones just now returning tomorrow night, there is especially no bigger cash cow than Dublin’s favorite son. Promotion is a part of the job each fighter signs up for and they know it.

If you’re McGregor: Having headlined UFC 189, 194, and saved UFC 196, what Conor is asking for is totally reasonable despite whatever we as fans may think. How long can a train roll on at top speed with a loose undercarriage before the wheel fall off?

A prime example of that would be Rousey (who is also working toward a comeback anticipated for the UFC’s debut at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on November 12–their 23rd promotional birthday by the way.)

McGregor has been beaten for the first time in a long time. While some may view this period as the Irishman licking his wounds, that is NOT the case.

The man has said previously “I am not talented, I am obsessed.” He is not taking time off; he’s going full throttle toward his next FIGHT. While he possesses a gift for gab unlike many (his most major selling point it could be argued) a shadow of what McGregor was due to less training won’t fill seats either.

While the UFC could look at Jones vs Daniel Cormier II for 200-depending on Cormier’s health after his foot injury leading up to tomorrow’s UFC 197 and the length of medical suspension Jones could have after tomorrow night- without that fight and without McGregor, even with Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes, the even’t won’t be what it could’ve been.

One plus one equals two and Conor McGregor equals ratings. I’ll continue pointing out the obvious by reminding you of McGregor’s fast-paced, cash-burning lifestyle. Need an example? Try Google some time.

The UFC might truly leave McGregor off to keep their word and/or prove a point, but don’t forget the common denominator: the almighty dollar.

To the fans: You know that you’ll pay–either to see McGregor win or lose–you know you’ll pay.