UFC star Conor McGregor is not retired. He just wants to focus on what he feels is his real job — fighting.
McGregor, 27, released a statement on social media Thursday stating he was not retired, despite a post earlier in the week that said he was stepping away from the sport. On Tuesday, UFC pulled McGregor from a scheduled rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 200 on July 9, saying McGregor had refused to fly to Las Vegas to participate in promotional obligations.
In a highly anticipated announcement, McGregor (19-3) explained that refusal.
“I am just trying to do my job and fight here,” McGregor wrote on Facebook. “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.
“There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.”
Coming off the first loss of his UFC career in March, McGregor asked for a reduction in promotional responsibilities, but that request was denied, he wrote.
UFC wanted McGregor to be in Las Vegas this week for a news conference at MGM Grand Casino. Sources told ESPN that promotional stops were also planned for Stockton, California, and New York. McGregor, who is from Dublin, is currently training in Iceland.
“I’m coming for my revenge here. I flew an entire team to Portugal and to Iceland to make my adjustments in preparation and fix my errors I made with the weight and the cardio prep,” McGregor wrote. “With the right adjustments and the right focus, I will finish what I started in that last fight. I will not do this if I am back on the road handing out flyers again.”
McGregor, who is the UFC featherweight champion, said he is “still ready to go for UFC 200.” Diaz (19-10) is in Las Vegas this week and has not been rescheduled to another fight.
McGregor wrote that he was willing to fly to New York for a news conference, but he then wanted to return to 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,” he wrote.
McGregor tweeted Thursday night to reiterate his stance.
ESPN reached out to UFC for comment on the situation and has not heard back.
McGregor suffered his first UFC defeat when he tapped to a rear-naked choke in the second round of a welterweight fight against Diaz at UFC 196 in Las Vegas.
Originally, McGregor was supposed to fight lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in an attempt to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in multiple weight classes simultaneously. That fight fell through when dos Anjos injured his foot, and Diaz stepped in on 11 days’ notice.
The bout was contested at welterweight due to the short notice, meaning McGregor technically moved up two weight classes.
Following McGregor’s initial retirement announcement this week, Diaz responded with a social media post saying, “I guess my work here is done, I’m retiring, too.” He has not publicly commented on McGregor’s latest statement.