Since announcing his retirement and thrusting the MMA world into a frenzy, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has finally come out of the shadows to tell his side of the story. McGregor issued a statement on his Facebook page Thursday claiming:
“I am just trying to do my job and fight here.
I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote”.
McGregor then spoke of his lengthly media obligations in the past, and how they may have finally caught up with him in his UFC 196 defeat to Nate Diaz.
“There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.
50 world tours, 200 press conferences, 1 million interviews, 2 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.”
“Notorious” went on to describe his request with the UFC to allow him to do a bit more training rather than promoting:
“I will not do this if I am back on the road handing out flyers again. 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.”
The Irishman also explained his retirement tweet as a ploy to generate promotion for the event as a gesture of good will:
“There had been 10 million dollars 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 dollars 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.”
McGregor did offer one final, and what seems to be non-negotiable, solution to the predicament with the UFC:
“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.”
Finally “The Notorious One” answered the question that has been on all our minds, fans and media alike:
“For the record also –
For USADA and for the UFC and my contract stipulations –
I AM NOT RETIRED.”
According to UFC president Dana White, “Notorious” and UFC brass bumped heads over the promotional scheduling for UFC 200 as it conflicted with the Irishman’s training. McGregor refused to attend the press conference that is scheduled to take place this Friday in Las Vegas, and thus was removed from the card by White. McGregor responded by sending out this Tweet that would send fight-fan’s worlds upside-down:
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya’s later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
UFC brass has yet to officially respond to this statement, as a result it is unknown if they will stick to their guns and keep the Irishman off of the blockbuster card.