NEW YORK (AP) — UFC fans, rejoice. Conor McGregor is not retired.
He’s even willing to resume his spot in the main event at UFC 200.
The mixed martial arts superstar is simply fed up with the grueling promotional demands that come with being a pay-per-view star. The 27-year-old fighter known for his over the top personality says “I can not dance for you this time.”
McGregor posted on Facebook Thursday that he needed to focus on himself and not the massive hype that accompanies his megafights.
“I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting,” McGregor said in the nearly 650-word statement also posted to Twitter, instantly drawing thousands of shares, retweets and comments from fans.
“For USADA and for the UFC and my contract stipulations — I AM NOT RETIRED,” McGregor said. McGregor, at times profane and critical of interviews he saw as pointless, said the “many distractions” led to errors in preparing for his last fight, specifically with cardio and weight.
McGregor has been training for a rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 200 in July. He lost to Diaz in March, ending a 15-fight winning streak in which he surprised many fans by fighting 25 pounds above his usual weight of 145 pounds, where he holds a title belt. The rematch was set to be fought at 170 pounds.
McGregor stirred fans this week with a tweet saying he had decided to retire young. That prompted UFCPresident Dana White to respond by saying McGregor had been pulled from UFC 200 because of the dispute over promotional appearances. White said McGregor was refusing to travel to Las Vegas for promotions ahead of another UFC card this weekend.
McGregor says he’s still ready to fight at UFC 200.
“I’m doing what I need for me now. It is time to be selfish with my training again. It is the only way,” he said. “I feel the $400million I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside 8 months, is enough to get me this slight leeway.”
McGregor said UFC denied a request for a decreased promotional push and he wrote he would still be willing to attend a scheduled press conference in New York.
“I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment,” he said.
UFC did not immediately return a request for comment.
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, tweeted Thursday his fighter “rose again.”
“Ur call now. You are the customers. What do you want? Press conferences or fights? Make some noise because we’re ready to do the damn thing!” he tweeted.
White said this week he was working on a new UFC 200 main event and could keep Diaz on the card. The stacked card already included an interim featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar and Miesha Tate defends her bantamweight title against Amanda Nunes.
McGregor, who sits alongside Ronda Rousey as the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view stars, is still the featherweight champion. Aldo and Edgar will meet for the interim belt and the winner was scheduled to get the first shot at a unification fight against McGregor.
McGregor added to his aura when he knocked out Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December.
He now seems primed to return to the cage where he can talk trash to his rivals, not about the fight in front of scores of microphones.
“It is time for the other monkeys to dance,” McGregor said. “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.”
UFC fighter Eddie Alvarez wrote on Twitter that McGregor had “good insight on how an empire rises and then falls.”
Alvarez said McGregor’s stand sets a precedent for future stars if UFC caves to his demands.
“Short term gain $$$ Long term disaster,” Alvarez tweeted. “Let’s see what happens.”