Few truly expected Conor McGregor's retirement from mixed martial arts would last long. But if you ask UFC president Dana White, he guarantees that his fans won't see him competing in the UFC for the rest of the calendar year.
The UFC president appeared on Barstool Sports' "My Mom's Basement" show to discuss the immediate future of the Irish superstar.
“This year, he’s retired,” White said. “He doesn’t have a fight this year, and he won’t have a fight this year. Conor McGregor will not fight in 2020.
“I’m not saying he won’t fight in 2021, but I’m telling you we don’t have a fight planned for him in 2021. But I guarantee you he will not fight in 2020. Conor McGregor is retired.”
McGregor last fought in January and ran roughshod over Donald Cerrone with a first-round stoppage. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and threw the entire sport into disarray. With Justin Gaethje stepping in for Khabib Nurmagomedov and stopping Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC lightweight championship, McGregor felt that he should get a shot at Gaethje to determine who would be next to face the undefeated lightweight champion.
Once it was clear that the UFC wasn't going to grant McGregor his request, the former two-division champion promptly retired with a tweet and said that he grew "bored of the game." If it was posturing by McGregor, White said that he wouldn't be falling for the trap and has decided to move on without his biggest star in mind.
“He is not fighting right now, so when he’s not fighting, I don’t even think about him or what he’s doing or any of that stuff on a business level," White said. "I’ll still shoot him a text personally, but on a business level, he’s out of the mix. He’s not fighting at all. So everybody keeps asking questions about him, and I’m like, ‘Manny Pacquiao? What the f— are you talking about?”
McGregor teased a return to boxing in a fight against Manny Pacquiao that White scoffed at. Even White doesn't believe that McGregor will remain in retirement but he won't hold his breath waiting for him to say he's ready to fight again.
“I think most of us don’t believe that he’ll remain retired," he said. "But let me put it to you this way: I owe fighters that are under contract with me three fights a year. OK? If I don’t deliver those three fights a year, I have to pay them. Conor McGregor is retired, whether people want to believe it or not."