It’s not every day that a professional sports franchise loses their biggest star when he/she is only 27 years old. Sadly for the UFC, it’s a predicament they now find themselves in after current Featherweight title holder Conor McGregor posted this message on Twitter:
While it still remains unclear as to what prompted McGregor to step away from the sport, most believe it stems from a disagreement with UFC President Dana White. McGregor was supposed to headline UFC 200 in a rematch against Nate Diaz, but the Irishman refused to fly to Las Vegas to partake in mandatory promotional activities.
As a result, White removed McGregor from the main event and will begin searching for a new opponent for Diaz. Despite McGregor’s tweet though, White believes we haven’t seen the last of the Irishman.
The UFC President appeared on The Herd With Colin Cowherd, and when asked whether he thought McGregor was truly retiring, White said, “I do not.”
While all signs point to McGregor’s premature retirement being legitimate, plenty of fighters around the UFC have given their own personal reactions:
The only man who has beaten McGregor since he joined the UFC, Nate Diaz, had this to say:
Featherweight contender Frankie Edgar didn’t mind McGregor’s decision to step away from the sport:
And the best reaction was undoubtedly by lightweight contender, Benson Henderson, who doesn’t seem to be buying McGregor’s decision:
Whether or not this is a publicity stunt by McGregor remains to be seen, but if the Irishman is serious about his retirement, he will be forced to vacate the Featherweight belt. In that scenario, the Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar bout that is already scheduled for UFC 200 will be for the Featherweight title.
In the words of Pepper Brooks, “it’s a bold strategy, [Conor], let’s see if it pays off for him.”