Two days after turning the mixed martial arts world upside down with a single tweet, Conor McGregor clarified his retirement claims on Thursday morning with a lengthy statement that concluded – in all caps – “I AM NOT RETIRED.”
While McGregor’s status for his July rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200 remains unclear, he let it be known that he’s still preparing to fight, and ripped the company’s rigorous promotional schedule for causing him to lose focus in his training. And that, he wrote, was the reason he took to Twitter earlier this week to announce he was stepping away from the sport.
“I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting,” McGregor’s statement read. “Fifty world tours, 200 press conferences, 1 million interviews, 2 million photo shoots, and at the end of it all I’m left looking down the barrel of a lens, staring defeat in the face, thinking of nothing but my incorrect fight preparation.
“Sitting in a car on the way to some dump in Connecticut or somewhere, to speak to Tim and Suzie on the nobody gives a fuck morning show did not get me this life,” his statement continued. “Talking to some lady that deep down doesn’t give a fuck about what I’m doing, but just wants some sound bites so she can maybe get her little tight ass a nice raise – I’m cool with that too, I’ve been giving you all raises – but I need to focus on me now.”
In the aftermath of McGregor’s retirement announcement, UFC President Dana White appeared on SportsCenter to announce he’d pulled him from the UFC 200 card, citing McGregor’s unwillingness to leave his training camp in Iceland and promote the event. In his statement, the reigning Featherweight Champion refuted those claims.
“I am coming off a loss, I asked for some leeway where I can just train and focus. I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment. But it was denied,” McGregor wrote. “There had been 10 million dollars allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me. So as a gesture of goodwill, I went and not only saved that 10 million dollars in promotion money, I went and tripled it for them…with one tweet. Keep that 10 mill to promote the other bums that need it. My shows are good.
“I am still ready to go for UFC 200,” the statement continued. “I will offer, like I already did, to fly to New York for the big press conference that was scheduled, and then I will go back into training. With no distractions. If this is not enough, or they feel I have not deserved to sit this promotion run out this one time, well then I don’t know what to say.”
McGregor also managed to take a few shots at his opponent, Nate Diaz, who filled in for the injured Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 on short notice and famously accepted the fight while partying on a yacht in Mexico.
“It is time for the other monkeys to dance. I’ve danced us all the way here. Nate’s little mush head looks good up on that stage these days. Stuff him in front of the camera for it,” McGregor wrote. “He came in with no shit to do that last one. I’d already done press conferences, interviews and shot the ads before RDA pulled out. Maybe I’ll hit Cabo this time and skull some shots pre-fight with no obligation. I’m doing what I need for me now.”
A spokesperson for UFC had not responded to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment on McGregor’s statement at press time.