The tweet that sent the fight world into a frenzy now has more clarity.
Yesterday, UFC President Dana White appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter to announce a shocking development relating to its Featherweight Champion.
"Well, what's happened is, we've pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 200," White said. "And we're working on other fights right now. Conor did not want to come to Las Vegas (this week) to film the commercial or be a part of any of the marketing that we have.”
The announcement came after an earlier tweet from McGregor the same day, which said, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”
Since the championship loss of Ronda Rousey to Holly Holm, McGregor has been the top billed UFC star in the last year and some change. His headlining appearances in UFC 189, UFC 194 and UFC 196 are assumed to have been some of the biggest in the promotions pay-per-view history (the UFC does not release its PPV numbers).
However, it seems that after losing to Nate Diaz in a welterweight showdown that saw McGregor lose via rear naked choke, McGregor was solely focused on training for the now scrapped bout.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight contender,Chael Sonnen told MMAFIghting.com his thoughts on dealing with White and UFC Chairman and CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta, who also owns the Station Casinos in Las Vegas.
"He might really be done...I don't know if he wants to be done,” said Sonnen. “This was a negotiation tool. But he called the bluff of the wrong guys. These are gamblers man, there's rules in Vegas. If you say bet you have a bet. I mean that. You go to a casino, you don't put your money down, you tell the pit boss ‘I want that bet', if he yells the word bet you have a bet. And it goes both ways. If you win it he'll pay you...Anytime you go into a negotiation and you call someone's bluff, man you better mean it because this is what can happen."
The UFC is notoriously vigilant when challenged by its talent roster and with McGregor apparently flexing on the brass, he should note that others have tried and failed.
“He's in Iceland training and (not participating in the marketing) is not possible,” said White on SportsCenter. “This has only happened one other time in UFC history. Nick Diaz didn't show up for his press conference for his fight with Georges St-Pierre and I pulled Nick Diaz from the fight. We've had other instances like this where guys didn't want to do the press conference, (but) you have to. You have to do the press conference, so Conor put out that tweet. Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he could answer that question."
As the world waits to see if McGregor truly is giving up his career due to this skiff, White made it clear that his position is uncompromising when dealing with the marketing of his events.
But can he be blamed?
With major money already spent in making the world aware of who McGregor is and the success it has yielded, any athletic penchants to stay an athlete and resist the demands of stardom will be balked at by those who raised you to such heights.
"Obviously, we still have a good relationship with Conor," White said. "I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person. (But) you can't decide not to show up to these things. You have to do it. We were in constant communication back and forth between his manager and myself. I said, 'Listen, I'm flying out of here at 2 o'clock. You have until 2 o'clock. We're booking the flight for you and you have to say you're accepting the fight and you'll show up (in Las Vegas this week for the promotional activities.)' "