As you may (or may not) have heard, Conor McGregor announced his ‘retirement’ via Twitter last night, with an odd, out of character tweet.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya’s later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
While a strange tweet from the man known affectionately as ‘The Notorious’ is generally not out of the ordinary, this is a completely new kind of odd for McGregors social media habits.
The tweet comes in the wake of McGregor bailing on his media commitments with the UFC in advance of UFC 200, which resulted in Dana White pulling him from the card. The Irishman will now not face Nate Diaz in a rematch. We break it down below:
There’s a few different ways one could go with this, so let’s look at the background.
Firstly, the obvious. Conor McGregor is called ‘The Notorious’ for a reason. He’s loose with his words and has built a brand from his flair for controversy and conflict. While he is an extremely wealthy young individual, one would imagine he’s not about to leave his huge sponsors (Monster Energy and Reebok) hanging. Although if there was ever a man to do such a thing, it’d be McGregor.
Considering the certain eccentric tendencies McGregor demonstrates, (think Rolls Royces and lux’ suits crossed with a love of tattoos, feuds and his general outspoken nature) perhaps incidents such as this are just par for the course.
Moving on, it’s worth saying that while Conor can be a loose cannon, his trainer, who isn’t a noted madman, echoed the retirement sentiment via Twitter.
In regards to his removal from the UFC 200 card, it appears that he bailed on his promotional commitments for the event. A similar incident occurred at UFC 137 when Nick Diaz refused his media obligations and was withdrawn from a title fight.
The reason for McGregor’s refusal? He’s training in Iceland, and reportedly didn’t want to compromise his training. Not generally the actions of a retiring man.
The only subplot that I feel gives any substance to the retirement story, and this is a stretch, is his presence at the fight between Joao Carvalho and McGregor’s SBG Ireland teammate Charlie Ward, which ended in tragedy. Apparently this incident has “gravely affected” The Notorious, and perhaps this retirement comes as the result of him realising his own mortality. But given who he is, I’d like to doubt that. It’s hard to imagine Conor McGregor leaving the UFC and riding off into the sunset on the back of his last defeat.
In any case McGregor has disappointed around 8,000 fans expected to attend the bout,per the Independent, many of whom have paid for flights and hotels in addition to tickets for the bout. Not a good look for the most popular leprechaun globally.
While not as sentimental an idea as Robbie’s with a fear of McGregor’s mortality. I believe, whether people want to admit it or not, McGregor is a strategic genius. This goes for inside the octagon and outside. He is a man who has fine tuned his ability to read a situation and analyse the outcome.
On top of his “Notorious” alias he has aptly called himself “Mystic Mac” with an ability to predict the outcome of how long his bouts will last and exactly how he was going to take an opponent down in numerous cases. There’s something special about McGregor that a lot of people don’t choose to believe but from the moment a fight is called to the point in which he leaves the ring he’s been playing his strengths on his opponent and shifting the fight to his favour.
McGregor uses standard manipulation theory in his bouts. He prevents his opponents to logically analyse upcoming fights and targets their emotions. Fighters enter the octagon with McGregor so emotionally charged they are unable to see logic. Whereas McGregor has mastered his emotions and is able to see exactly what is going on in his bouts. Looking back at UFC 194 Aldo went for one of his most powerful and practiced combinations from the outset. McGregor was waiting for this identified it and knew exactly when and where to strike. It was not luck like so many people cried it was something McGregor anticipated and went for.
This current situation is no different to one of McGregor’s highly anticipated fights. As soon as McGregor put out the tweet stating he’s done everyone went into a frenzy and assumed some form of publicity stunt. We can safely say however that this tweet was spurred after the announcement that he had been pulled from UFC 200. As mentioned above due to his lack of commitment to contractual agreements.
Here’s where we can start speculating why McGregor has called retirement. In light of being pulled from UFC 200 he is understandably p*ssed. One of the best fighters in the sport, a man who has made UFC millions and he’s pulled from a fight. I see it going down one way here. McGregor sees that the UFC needs him more than he needs them. He’s playing on his strengths and knows no fight that’s called for Diaz as replacement will bank as much as what this fight was going to. McGregor has given the ultimatum and it’s time to see who’s willing to back down first. This isn’t the first time McGregor has tried to defy contractual agreements before he previously refused to wear the Reebok kit. The Notorious does believe he is above the obligations of every other UFC fighter out there.
Whatever happens next it’s going to be interesting. There is no way there will be a simple statement from White saying McGregor is back on the cards but if McGregor does in fact retire there is a strong possibility he will lose all respect in the UFC circles and find it very difficult to pave a career from his endeavours. On the other hand if White offers McGregor more money to come and fight or let’s him waive his contractual agreements people will be seeing it as another show of favouritism in a sport that is trying very hard to establish themselves as a legitimate organisation.
Without a doubt, this will be an interesting week we have ahead of ourselves.