UFC star Conor McGregor announces 'retirement from MMA'

Controversial Irish MMA fighter tweets decision to retire, saying he wishes his old colleagues well

UFC star Conor McGregor appears to have announced his retirement from mixed martial arts. McGregor, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, tweeted: “Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today.

“I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!”

The Irishman, who finishes with a 21-4 record, has not fought since October last year when he lost to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. McGregor was suspended for six months after that fight ended with brawls spreading into the crowd. Nurmagomedov received the heavier punishment and was banned for nine months.

McGregor appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show hours before making his announcement, saying that he was eager to fight again, but also that he did not need to. “I am set for life, my family is set for life,” he said. “I’ve done a lot, I’ve fought a lot. I’ve never pulled out of contests. I’ve gone through some crazy injuries, some crazy external situations that many a man would sprint for the hills if it happened to them.

“But I stood firm [and] done my piece for the company. Like I said, this whiskey [one of McGregor’s business interests] is my baby. I have a lot of great entities. I don’t necessarily need to fight.”

His announcement comes in the wake of reports that UFC president, Dana White, had denied McGregor the main event slot at the upcoming event in Las Vegas scheduled for 7 July. White believes it “makes sense” the 30-year-old retires at this point, considering he has other successful business ventures. “He has been so fun to watch,” White said via ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him and look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor now counts whiskey among his business interests. Photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters

McGregor became the biggest draw in mixed martial arts – he has headlined four of the six highest-selling pay per view events – after he kickstarted his UFC career with victory over José Aldo in 2015.

He had a hiatus from the octagon in 2017, during which he made his boxing debut, a loss to Floyd Mayweather that generated hundreds of millions of dollars. He is also the UFC’s most controversial star. Before last year’s Nurmagomedov fight, he avoided jail over his involvement in a melee after a news conference for the UFC 223 event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

In July, McGregor attended the World Cup final in Moscow as a guest of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and posed with him in a photo posted on Instagram. In the caption, McGregor called Putin “one of the greatest leaders of our time”. In March this year, he was arrested in Florida for stealing the phone of someone who was trying to take his photo.

Of course, McGregor has previously insinuated that he would be retiring, tweeting in 2016: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

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