Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, who said on Twitter earlier on Tuesday that he was walking away from the sport, has been pulled from the UFC’s main event in July.
UFC president Dana White did not confirm McGregor’s retirement, but said he would no longer be fighting a rematch with Nate Diaz on the UFC 200 card on July 9 after refusing to fly to Las Vegas for a news conference and promotional photographs.
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American Diaz handed the cocky Irishman his first UFC loss last month when he choked him into submission in a non-title bout at UFC 196.
“I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later,” McGregor, 27, said on Twitter.
The news comes a week after Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho died following injuries sustained in a bout in Dublin against McGregor’s teammate, Charlie Ward.
McGregor, who was sitting ringside at that fight, said on his Facebook page that combat sport was a “crazy game” and that Carvalho’s death was “heartbreaking.”
“It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this,” he added.
McGregor surged through the featherweight ranks before knocking out champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds in December last year.
He has become the UFC’s hottest property with his outrageous trash-talking outside the cage and his vicious skills inside it.
His stunning loss last month, in which the Irishman went up two divisions to fight American Diaz at welterweight, came as another blow to the UFC following the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm.
Holm pulled off one of the greatest upsets in combat sports when she knocked out Rousey in Melbourne, Australia, to snatch the UFC world women’s bantamweight title in November last year.
Diaz, no stranger to trash-talking himself, responded to McGregor’s Tweet with one of his own:
“I guess my work here is done I’m retiring too.”
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, appeared to comment on/confirm the retirement with a tweet later Tuesday.
“Well was fun while it lasted,” Kavanagh wrote on Twitter.
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