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Deciphering The Abrupt ‘Retirement’ Of Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor grabbed the headlines once again on Tuesday morning after abruptly announcing his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts.

Taking to his official Twitter page, McGregor gave a short statement concerning his future in the sport.

This was then later backed up by UFC president Dana White, who gave his thoughts on the announcement via text (obtained by MMAJunkie).

“He has the money to retire, and his whiskey is KILLIN’ it. It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire too. He’s retiring from fighting, not from working.

“The whiskey will keep him busy, and I’m sure he has other things he’s working on. He has been so fun to watch. He has accomplished incredible things in this sport.

“I am so happy for him, and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”

So there you have it. Perhaps the most electric and divisive chapter in MMA history closes once and for all and with that, we can now look forward to continuing to experience the growth of this sport in the ‘post-McGregor’ era.

No? Don’t buy it either?

Of course not.

There are a lot of things to be said about the timing and execution of this statement.

Firstly, the note itself doesn’t exactly come through with the type of sentiments you’d expect for something of this gravity.

Love him or hate him, the man has always spoken to those who have followed him over the years with a tad more authenticity to his words.

We’ve seen Conor at his most heartfelt during post-fight interviews and knowing the man, his retirement will no doubt be presented in a more formal fashion than a hastily-written tweet at 01:08am Miami time (if we’re to assume that’s where he is based off of Instagram activity).

Conor McGregor has an engrained love for the dramatic.

Expect him to milk his retirement when the time comes.

And it was hastily-written.

Unless referring to the sport as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ was intentional (it likely wasn’t), everything about Conor’s ‘quick announcement’ from that title, to the poor structure, and the 1am post-time smells fishy.

A guy with a penchant for the spectacular such as this would not relegate his own retirement to a ‘quick announcement’.

So why do it then?

Well, it’s certainly a notch or two above the infamous ‘thanks for the cheese’ tweet from 2016 – but only just.

The same lackadaisical tone is to be found in both and to be honest, the same motive could well have seen him turn back the clock.

Perhaps it is not exactly the media obligations that are causing Conor to make this play but if I had to guess, I reckon I’m far from the only one who thinks this is a negotiation move.

McGregor has dipped into the Floyd Mayweather catalogue on many, many occasions during his rise and as we know, the self-imposed hiatus/retirement is a tool used by ‘Money’ repeatedly over the course of his career.

It’s hard to know what is going on behind the scenes and what could have pushed the Irishman to make this move but based on what we know about him, the UFC, and the fight-game, I have very little reason to believe that he is not still looking to fight this summer.

Speaking during a Q&A event in Boston last week, Conor explained that he is angling towards a return in July – which would most likely put in the running for a spot on International Fight Week’s UFC 239.

“We’re currently in negotiations. We’re aiming for July. We’ll see what happens. I’m staying ready.

“I’m ready to fight, I’ve said that. No problem.

“If the UFC wants me to slide into that co-main event slot and help, what that is, if I slide into the co-main event it’s boosting their brand over fighter rhetoric that they have. There’s no problem with that.

“If they want me to push that and I have no problem pushing that, give me my rightful shares in the UFC company. That’s all I ask. You can put me on the first fight of ESPN+ but just give me my shares. So, we’ll see what happens.”

I don’t really think that anything else needs to be said. We don’t know enough at present to make any more assumptions or predictions.

Who knows though, perhaps this is the retirement of Conor McGregor.

Maybe this is the way that his career was supposed to come to an end. A man who consistently angled towards pushing the boundaries for himself each and every time he fought as he continued to break and reset pay-per-view records with each passing outing.

Maybe it was meant to end with one scruffy looking tweet sent after midnight.

But you don’t really buy that do you?

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

 

 

About Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at cillian@punditarena.com.