In what would undoubtedly be the biggest fight news of the year, it appears as though Conor McGregor is going to retire ahead of his UFC 200 bout against Nate Diaz. At the age of only 27 this would truly be a shocking turn of events.
McGregor posted a cryptic tweet that stated, "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later."
McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh, also tweeted something similar saying, "Well was fun while it lasted".
Reporter Ariel Helwani did little to quell these rumors as he reported that multiple sources have been adamant that the tweet by McGregor was not a joke and that reasons for this announcement are still unclear.
McGregor, who is coming off the first loss of his UFC career to Nate Diaz, has appeared to be more motivated than ever to get back into the Octagon and avenge his defeat. However, it appears as though that this will not be the case.
McGregor has stated numerous times in interviews that he has always planned to get out of the game early, but I am not alone when I say that I was not expecting him to call it a quits this early. He is arguably the most popular fighter in the UFC, entering the prime of his career, and making more money than he knows what to do with, but it seems as this is not enough to keep him going.
Many have been left scratching their heads as to why this decision would come now, and before such an important fight. I am sure there were many reasons that went into the thought process of McGregor, however the most prominent would have come a little more than a week ago.
On April 9 at National Stadium in Dublin, Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho tragically died due to complications from head injuries that he suffered from his third round TKO loss. He was placed in critical condition immediately following the loss, and after several surgeries, Carvalho passed away on Monday.
The man that Caravalho faced that night was Irish fighter, Charlie Ward. Ward is a teammate of McGregor’s and, in fact, McGregor was cage side for the bout, rooting on his country man.
McGregor would later post to his Facebook account his condolences, as he stated:
Terrible news regarding Joao Carvalho.
To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking.
We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this.
I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can’t understand it.
My condolences go out to Joao’s family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all.
Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.
It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.
I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.
Rest in peace, Joao.
It was clear that this event resonated with McGregor and it perhaps could be the reason that he has decided to call it a career, however, at this time, only he knows that.
I will close by saying that, although I am disappointed by this news, I have all the respect in the world for Conor McGregor. He said what he was going to do and he did it. He came in, he got his belt, and he took over. If he feels that he is risking his health by fighting again then that is completely understandable and respectable.
If this news is true and he is in fact retiring then it is truly an end of an era, the McGregor ear, for the UFC. While even though his time was short in the organization, he has provided a plethora of entertainment for fight fans, and he has left a lasting legacy. And if he decides to come back, well, I certainly will not be opposed to that.
By Jake Cianci