March 26 (UPI) — UFC athlete Conor McGregor announced Tuesday he is retiring from mixed martial arts and will not fight at a planned event in July.
“Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today,” McGregor wrote in a tweet early Tuesday. “I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement.”
The timing is curious because McGregor, 30, appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon just hours before, saying he and the UFC were working on a return to the Octagon.
“We’re in talks for July,” McGregor said. “We’ll see what happens, a lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game. But like I said to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready. I have done my piece for the company. I don’t necessarily need to fight. I am set for life. My family is set for life. We are good, but I am eager to fight. So, we’ll see what happens. I’m staying ready.”
McGregor was suspended from UFC for six months for a post-match brawl that erupted after UFC 229. That suspension ends April 6. He also recently had an incident where he smashed a fan’s phone.
If he stays retired, McGregor finishes with a 21-4 record in Mixed Martial Arts and a 9-2 record in UFC. He won two division championships.
UFC President Dana White said the announcement “totally makes sense.”
“He has the money to retire, and his [Proper 12] whiskey is KILLIN’ it,” White told ESPN via text. “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.”
White told Barstool Sports Monday it’s always a challenge to book a fight with McGregor.
“Every time I deal with Conor there’s always something,” he said. “There’s always something to deal with and we get it figured out.”
McGregor has retired before, tweeting in April 2016, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”
He didn’t have a fight at UFC 200 at that time but he did take on rival Nate Diaz a month later in a highly profitable bout.