'Not buying it': Conor McGregor savaged over retirement bombshell

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Conor McGregor poses during weigh-in for UFC 229 in 2018. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Joe Rogan has led a furious backlash against Conor McGregor after the UFC star announced his retirement for the third time on Sunday.

McGregor abruptly made his latest dubious declaration Sunday morning on his Twitter account, where the former two-division UFC champion also announced his retirement in 2016 and 2019.

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“Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a caption below a photo of him and his mother.

“Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been!”

However fans and commentators are more than a little sceptical after McGregor’s two previous retirement announcements never came to fruition.

UFC commentator Rogan slammed McGregor for the timing of his latest announcement, believing he took the spotlight off UFC 250 in Las Vegas.

“I don’t buy it for a second. I think he’s trying to get you to talk about him and you just did,” Rogan said during the broadcast.

“What better way to get people to talk about him when there’s a spectacular fight filled with people dominating.

“What he did was hijack the situation and say he’s retiring. I’m not buying it.”

UFC world reacts to Conor’s latest retirement

UFC boss Dana White was willing to take McGregor's retirement announcement at face value - at least publicly - when he learned about it at his news conference following UFC 250.

“That’s Conor. You know how Conor works. That’s how he does things,” he said.

“If Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement.

“You should absolutely do it. And I love Conor. ... There's a handful of people that have made this really fun for me, and he's one of them.

Given the current state of the world - with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and massive protests and riots taking place in cities across the country after George Floyd’s death in Minnesota late last month - White said he understands why McGregor might want to call it, too.

Conor McGregor and Joe Rogan at the weigh-ins for UFC 246 in 2020. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

“If these guys want to sit out and retire right now or anybody feels uncomfortable in any way, shape or form with what’s going on, you don’t have to fight. It is all good,” White said.

“So if that’s what Conor’s feeling right now … I feel ya.

“It’s not like I’m going, ‘Holy s--t, this is crazy. This is nuts.’ Nothing is crazy and nuts right now because everything is crazy and nuts right now. So, on a certain level, I totally understand it and get it.”

The 31-year-old Irish superstar revitalised his combat sports career in January with an impressive first-round stoppage of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246.

McGregor (22-4) hadn't won a fight in a mixed martial arts cage or a boxing ring since 2016, but he remained the UFC's brightest star and biggest financial draw.

White has already said McGregor is next in line for a title shot at the winner of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov's bout with Justin Gaethje this summer.

The UFC's schedule is in upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, but McGregor was expected to get his title shot later this year, and he recently had been talking to White about taking another fight even earlier.

Earlier this week, McGregor posted photos and videos of himself training for fights.

Gaethje was among hoards of fighters and fans to mock McGregor over his latest retirement.

“Thankfully all of the elderly are still hiding in their homes. This guy is on another bender,” Gaethje tweeted.

Conor McGregor’s history of retirements

McGregor made his first Twitter retirement announcement in April 2016 during a spat with the UFC over promotion of his rematch with Nate Diaz.

McGregor famously wrote: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later.”

McGregor and Diaz fought in August 2016.

Three years later, McGregor retired again in March 2019 in what White believed was a gambit to entice the UFC to offer him an ownership stake in the company.

McGregor began talking about new fights shortly afterward, and he eventually returned to face Cerrone in early 2020.

The loquacious McGregor has long proven that his pronouncements can't be taken as gospel truth.

Earlier this year, McGregor “accepted” future fights against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and long-retired boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya with little reason to think they will ever happen.

with AAP and Yahoo US