The strangest ongoing story in sports this week has been UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor maybe (but probably not) retiring and either dropping out or being pulled from a main event fight against Nate Diaz in July on what the UFC would like to be their biggest-ever fight card.
As UFC figurehead Dana White has it, the underlying problem here is that McGregor, the UFC’s biggest star, didn’t want to fulfill some bullshit contractual obligations at the precise time and place White wanted them fulfilled; White, channeling all the fury of a fed-up OfficeMax manager, told McGregor to piss off, leading McGregor to (presumably) smirk and say, “Okay, Uncle Fester, you want to pull your biggest star from what you would like to be your biggest-ever fight card over him wanting a stupid presser delayed by a couple of weeks? Fine, let’s see who’s bluffing.”
After a flop-sweating White made appearances to present his case yesterday, McGregor issued a communiqué on Facebook this morning, the essence of which is “This middleman should give me more of the piles of money I generate for him and leave me alone so I can train for demanding competition; if he doesn’t, I’ll be fine with relaxing and counting my already-large stacks of money”:
I am just trying to do my job and fight here.
I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote.
I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting.
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.
Nothing else was going through my mind.
It is time to go back and live the life that got me this life.
Sitting in a car on the way to some dump in Conneticut or somewhere, to speak to Tim and Suzie on the nobody gives a fuck morning show did not get me this life.
Talking to some lady that deep down doesn’t give a fuck about what I’m doing, but just wants some sound bites so she can maybe get her little tight ass a nice raise, and I’m cool with that too, I’ve been giving you all raises. But I need to focus on me now.
I’m coming for my revenge here.
I flew an entire team to Portugal and to Iceland to make my adjustments in preparation and fix my errors I made with the weight and the cardio prep.
With the right adjustments and the right focus, I will finish what I started in that last fight.
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.
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.
I must isolate myself now.
I am facing a taller, longer and heavier man. I need to prepare correctly this time.
I can not dance for you this time.
It is time for the other monkeys to dance. I’ve danced us all the way here.
Nate’s little mush head looks good up on that stage these days. Stuff him in front of the camera for it.
He came in with no shit to do that last one. I’d already done press conferences, interviews and shot the ads before RDA pulled out.
Maybe I’ll hit Cabo this time and skull some shots pre-fight with no obligation.
I’m doing what I need for me now.
It is time to be selfish with my training again. It is the only way.
I feel the $400million I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside 8 months, is enough to get me this slight leeway.
I am still ready to go for UFC 200.
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.
For the record also -
For USADA and for the UFC and my contract stipulations -
I AM NOT RETIRED.
Conor McGregor gets it; if every UFC fighter follows his lead, they will make more money in service of presenting a more compelling sport, with athletes and fans winning at the expense of useless middlemen like Dana White.