On ESPN’s First Take yesterday, Dana White explained why he believes Conor McGregor has suddenly announced that he’s going to retire from the sport, and it’s about not getting the fight that he wants.
““He wants to fight Gaethje,” White said. “Gaethje just won to get the fight with Khabib. He just beat Tony Ferguson.”
However, White also stirred the pot further by revealing that McGregor actually had a chance to be in Gaethje’s shoes, as he was offered the chance to be a replacement fighter for the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 recently.
“Conor had the opportunity to slide into that spot if Khabib or Tony fell out,” White claimed.
“He came back and said ‘I’m not a replacement fighter, I’m not going to do it.’ He would be in that position now if he took the fight. He didn’t, Gaethje did so Gaethje gets it.”
McGregor has used retirement as a ploy before to attempt to leverage his star power and get what he wants, but for now it appears that White is, in the public at least, not taking the bait and instead focusing on the UFC’s hectic upcoming schedule.
“Conor McGregor is frustrated right now because I mean look what’s going on. Look at what we’re pulling off. We’re literally just going to Yas Island right now to pull off these fights because the hardest thing to do right now is to get people into the country from other parts of the world. We are a true global business. We’re the only one pulling off live sports right now. If I continue to do fights in the United States, I’m going to burn out all my American talent.
“Now we got Yas Island ready to go, it’s set up. This is just a matter of Conor being frustrated I think in that he can’t get what he wants right now. It’s just not possible.”