Conor McGregor

USA Today

Conor McGregor’s Retirement

Does anyone really think that Conor is done for good?

March 26, 2019 - 10:24 am

Conor McGregor appeared on Jimmy Fallon last night in a pre-taped interview and in that interview, said that he was negotiating for a July fight. And then, shortly after it aired on the East Coast and before it aired out here, Conor tweeted this: “Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!

Whoa! Conor is retiring.

Okay. I guess. Wow. Shocking, that is if anyone really thought he was retiring. Because it’s not the first time he has quote retired on social; and I’m pretty certain it won’t be the last time either.

Because nothing about this feels like a retirement. The fact that only hours earlier, he was talking about fighting this summer. The fact that he tweeted it out at 1:18 in the morning on the East Coast. And the fact that he’s done this before.

Remember the April 2016 retirement announcement?

I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later.

And that “retirement” was because Dana White wanted him at a press conference in Las Vegas to promote the rematch with Nate Diaz. And after they got that resolved, he unretired, and came back to beat Diaz, to beat Eddie Alvarez and become the double champ, to box Floyd Mayweather, and lose to Khabib. And make a crapload of money along the way. With a craploads of money still out there: he just has to show up and pick it up.

That April 2016 tweet sounded like Conor, even if it wasn’t real. The one last night doesn’t sound like Conor at all.

Starting a tweet with: “Hey guys quick announcement.” That sounds more like someone getting the staff of a small company together in the conference room.

Hey guys, quick announcement, please stop throwing trash into the recycling bin next to the copier. When you do that, Doug, who takes out the recycling – thank you Doug – has to sort it himself. Okay, everyone, back to work. And remember – the company picnic is this Saturday!

Also referring to it as “the sport formally knows as “Mixed Martial Art”” with quotes seems awfully weird, too. And calling out that Pina Coladas were on him, is a little weird too. Why not just go full-on whiskey plug right there?

So what’s Dana’s reaction? He told Kevin Iole of Yahoo: “He has the money to retire and his whiskey is KILLIN it. It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire, too. He’s retiring from fighting, not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy and I’m sure he has other things he’s working on. He has been so fun to watch!!! He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”

So does Dana believe him or is Dana calling his bluff? Dana has made the point on this show numerous times that Conor has made so much money that he doesn’t need to keep fighting. And that he could and should retire at some point.

So does that mean Dana thinks this is for real? Or is Dana just saying what he said to Yahoo to cover in the event it’s real. Is he calling Conor’s bluff and acting like the promotion can and will just move on without him?

And is Conor really retiring or is he just pissed and how this latest negotiation is going.  Just pissed because Dana won’t let him headline the event?

What I don’t get from Dana is the feeling of “wow, this is the end of a great career.” Honestly, I don’t get that from anyone.

Conor is 30. He has a number of years of retiring and un-retiring left in him if he wants to. Sure, getting punched in the face, kicked in the head and choked out isn’t the easiest way to make a living. But this guy is one of the best to ever do it; and there is still crazy, crazy jack out there for him; sure, he probably is set for life, but I have a hard time believing he’s going to just leave all those stacks on the table. Which is why I have a really hard time buying this weird tweet. 

Here’s what I know it’s not. Dana is not pushing Conor out.

Conor might be annoying at times, he might be a hassle, but he makes money. The fight with Khabib was 2.5 million pay-per-view buys, a company record. The boxing match with Floyd Mayweather was 4.4 mill, the second largest pay-per-view event in history. In other words, Conor’s act may be a little tedious, but Dana’s not looking to rush him out the door.

If you’re not a fan, that’s cool. But if you want to dump on him and say that Dana would be better off without him, that’s wrong. Because he sells fights better than anyone.

But here’s the bigger problem. When Conor “retired” the first time, that was big news. People freaked out. This time, the reaction isn’t nearly as big and people aren’t freaking out nearly as much. One, because it’s happened before. And two, because some of the luster is gone.

What’s Conor known for now? Getting arrested and retiring. He’s not known for fighting, at least in a cage. He’s known for fighting vans and people who want his photo, allegedly. Every headline he’s made recently has been for something other than fighting someone in a cage.

In other words, he’s in danger of becoming a sideshow. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a guy who was the most electric athlete on the planet not that long ago, but it is lurching towards that at a rapid rate. I don’t have a problem with him losing to Khabib. Everyone knew he was in deep and I totally respect that he took on that challenge. But everything that’s happened since then has been a bad look.

Does anyone really think that Conor is done for good? That he’s leaving “the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art”” with a loss to Khabib and a 1am tweet on a Tuesday morning? Does anyone really think he’s walking away from making stacks of cash and being a legend, to just become a whiskey maker? I doubt it. If that tweet is the end, it’s a bad ending. And if it’s not, it’s a bad look.