Conor McGregor has finally spoken out about what he describes as his ‘publicized civil war’ with the UFC in an exclusive interview with ESPN.
A teaser for the interview was released a few days ago, in which McGregor indicated that he’s now on much better terms with the UFC after a meeting earlier this week, but he admits that a month ago when he posted on Twitter that he was going to retire young, the situation rapidly spiraled out of control.
“I’ll tell you what, (the retirement tweet) blew up,” McGregor told ESPN. “I was kind of having fun to start, half-hearted. Then all of a sudden it’s, ‘you’re off 200!’ I was like, ‘alright, well f— you too, then.'”
McGregor said that a number of factors influenced his decision to refuse to attend a short UFC 200 promotional tour, which sparked off the whole situation.
Most importantly, it seems that the 27-year-old is keenly aware of the fact that despite the superstar lifestyle that he’s enjoying at this moment in time if he doesn’t win his next fight then he could quickly become yesterday’s news.
“I wanted to isolate, focus, get that win back [against Nate Diaz],” McGregor said. “That’s all I gave a f— about, because essentially all the other s— means nothing. If I lose again, then this whole ship comes down. I’m the one carrying the ship. This whole thing goes down if I’m gone.”
He also admits for the first time that the death of a Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho at an event he had watched cage side in his native Ireland, and the media storm that followed, also had him craving some time out from under the bright lights.
“After all that, I did not want to be put in front of a camera and made to dance,” McGregor said. “I just wasn’t feeling it.”
Nevertheless, McGregor confesses that there have been times when he’s regretted his actions, which resulted in him being removed altogether from the historic UFC 200 event in Las Vegas on July 9th.
“All said and done, there were times (I thought), ‘I should have just jumped on the damn flight.’ But sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right for you and not what’s right for everybody else — especially if you’ve done what’s right for everyone else a million times over.”
By the sounds of things McGregor is now ready to put the whole debacle behind him and get back to business, insisting there’s no bad blood between the UFC and himself.
“Did I make that flight (to Las Vegas)? Did I do all the media? Did I dance like a monkey? No. Am I still here? Am I still fighting? Am I still collecting? Yeah. So, they saved face, I saved face — there was no loser. We all won in a way.”