In a move that has become common as of late for the Irish born star, Conor McGregor announced his retirement from the sport of MMA recently. His reasons cited for retiring include the UFC’s reluctance to book him for a fight during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a lack of competition.
Let’s take a look at McGregor’s claims as well as the likelihood that he will remain retired.
The first claim, that the UFC is refusing to book McGregor during the global pandemic, actually holds some weight. There is no denying the star power and allure that McGregor possesses. A Conor McGregor event is a spectacle. The UFC consistently draws a large gate and does incredible pay-per-view numbers whenever McGregor steps into the octagon. And while the pay-per-view numbers would still be there for a McGregor led event, the gate is something that cannot be missed out on. Because of this, the UFC does not want to book McGregor to fight during the pandemic because no fans are allowed in the buildings.
While this is unfortunate for McGregor as well as the McGregor fan base, it is certainly understandable from the UFC’s perspective. When McGregor last fought at UFC 246, the UFC disclosed $11 million as the amount of the live gate. That is simply an amount of money the UFC is not willing to part ways with as McGregor would likely be booked as soon as fans are allowed to attend live events.
The second claim, on the other hand, is not as valid. McGregor has fought in three separate weight classes in his time in the UFC and they just so happen to be the three most stacked divisions currently in the promotion. And while McGregor may not be looking to make that massive cut to 145 pounds anymore, Lightweight and Welterweight are filled with potential matchups for him.
It is more likely that McGregor will continue his career at Lightweight, his more natural weight class, but he has gone two and one in his career at Welterweight as well. Also, McGregor himself once stated that anyone in the UFC would take a fight with him, and it’s true. There are only four people in the Lightweight and Welterweight divisions who would not take McGregor as their next opponent.
They are the Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, number one contender for the Lightweight Championship Justin Gaethje, the Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman, and the number one contender for the Welterweight Championship Gilbert Burns.
These four already have championship fights lined up and therefore, do not need to fight McGregor who himself is looking to get back in the title picture. The top of both divisions, champions and number one contenders aside, are stacked and would love to get a piece of McGregor. Therefore his claim that there is no competition, while McGregor may see it that way, is simply false.
So the question of whether or not Conor McGregor will stay retired remains.
In the eyes of Conor’s head coach John Kavanagh, he believes McGregor is being legitimate in his claims that he is done fighting.
However, in the eyes of many in the world of MMA, they believe this is just another stunt by McGregor to garner some attention and potentially force the UFC’s hand into giving him a match-up that he wants, when he wants it, rather than what the UFC may want.
Either way, only those close to McGregor’s camp truly believe his is done with fighting for good.
Do you think Conor McGregor is done with fighting?
Featured Image: John Locher/Associated Press