Conor McGregor has caused quite a shake-up in the MMA world, tweeting Tuesday that he has “decided to retire young.” McGregor, 27, will not fight Nate Diaz at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9, and it is unknown whether he will ever fight again.
What do we make of this?
“Well, it just seemed very out of character that he would step away from the game or even insinuate as much,” FOX Sports 1 UFC announcer Jon Anik said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You heard a lot of people suggest that maybe he was trying to take some attention away from Jon Jones, who returns for the first time in a year this Saturday night at UFC 197. That was never part of the motivation.”
McGregor lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March – his first loss in more than five years. He had won his 15 previous matches, including 10 in the first round.
“I don’t think there’s any chance we have seen the last of Conor McGregor inside the octagon,” Anik said. “That said, I don’t think he’ll compete at UFC 200. I think Dana White will stay by his word on that. I don’t know if it’s posturing for more money or exactly what it is. Some have suggested it might have to do with the fact that one of his teammates was involved in a fight in which a fighter died in Dublin, Ireland, within the past couple weeks, so maybe that put some doubt in his mind. I don’t see that as a factor, with all due respect to the late Joao Carvalho. So I think we just got to be patient and hear what Conor says. Then we’ll know more.”
Ultimately, Anik believes this is about money.
“A lot of the discretionary bonuses and Pay Per View money allotment is not for public consumption, so you don’t know exactly what he made,” Anik said. “I think he made north of $5 million for his most recent fight against Nate Diaz, but all of this is informed speculation. There had been reports and rumors about a potential divide between the UFC and Conor McGregor. I guess that has some legs when you see the relationship deteriorate to this extent to lose Conor in a main event, UFC 200. But he signed a contract, and I think he needs to honor that.
“But I really can’t come up with all these likely scenarios, other than he wants to try to make as much money as he can because he’s the biggest draw in the sport right now, and maybe for UFC 200, he’s not making what he thinks he deserves,” Anik continued. “I don’t know. I just think it’s a little bit of posturing on Conor’s part. He’s too driven by his MMA legacy and he’s too financially driven and he’s too elite a fighter and a promoter to walk away like this with a tweet. I just don’t buy it.”