It’s deja vu all over again.
Noted MMA Fighter and UFC Champion Conor McGregor announced his retirement via social media on early Sunday morning for the third time in four years.
“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” the 31-year-old wrote shortly after UFC 250 on Saturday night. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”
McGregor returned from his second retirement, which he announced in 2019, with a decisive one-round TKO victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246.
It was his first triumph in MMA since 2016 — when he announced his first retirement — improving his career record to 22-4.
Despite his inactivity and recent lack of success — but because he is one of UFC’s biggest stars — McGregor was still lined up for a lightweight championship belt by UFC president Dana White where he would have taken on the winner of the bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
White, however, isn’t taking too much stock in McGregor’s announcement:
“I’ll remind everybody that we’re in a pandemic. The world is a crazy place right now with all these things that are going on. I think that everybody feels this right now. There are no fans. We can’t travel the fights around,” he said during the UFC 250 post-fight press conference. “I think everybody is pissed off, confused, been locked up in their houses for three-and-a-half months. People are wearing masks. There are protests. There are riots. The list goes on and on.”
“If you don’t think what I’m doing right now is probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, and you don’t think three times a day I throw my (expletive) hands up and I’m ready to say, ‘(Expletive) this (expletive).’ The amount of people I have gunning at me right now is insane.”
McGregor’s retirement is just the latest in notable UFC stars voicing their displeasure with the organization or backing out.
Tense negotiations are currently being held with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and “BMF” titleholder Jorge Masvidal. In May, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo retired after defending his belt at UFC 249.