Conor McGregor has reversed his decision to retire from mixed martial arts and revealed he is still open to fighting at UFC 200. The 27-year-old star withdrew from his much-anticipated rematch against Nate Diaz in Las Vegas on 9 July earlier this week, but has already performed a U-turn on that shock decision.
McGregor, who lost to Diaz in March at UFC 196, admitted he has become disillusioned with the demands placed on him in promoting the rematch. However, the Irishman insisted he still wished to compete in the sport and is happy to fulfil his commitments at UFC 200.
In a lengthy post on his Facebook account, McGregor explained: "I am just trying to do my job and fight here. I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting. There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.
"50 world tours, 200 press conferences, 1 million interviews, 2 million photo shoots, and at the end of it all I'm left looking down the barrel of a lens, staring defeat in the face, thinking of nothing but my incorrect fight preparation. And the many distractions that led to this. Nothing else was going through my mind. It is time to go back and live the life that got me this life."
McGregor claimed the promotional demands placed upon him in the lead up to the rematch with Diaz have proven to be a distraction. He insisted, too, that he generated more interest in the fight through his 'retirement' tweet than any press conference or advert could achieve.
"I will always play the game and play it better than anybody, but just for this one, where I am coming off a loss, I asked for some leeway where I can just train and focus. I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment. But it was denied," he said in the Facebook message.
"There had been 10 million dollars allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me. So as a gesture of good will, I went and not only saved that 10 million dollars in promotion money, I then went and tripled it for them. And all with one tweet. Keep that 10 mill to promote the other bums that need it. My shows are good."
McGregor also revealed he is still willing to fight Diaz at UFC 200, even though UFC president Dana White told UFC Tonight that the Irishman's window of opportunity is "pretty much closed". McGregor, for his part, thinks he ought to be given more "leeway" because of what he has achieved in the sport.
"It is time to be selfish with my training again. It is the only way. I feel the $400m I have generated for the company in my last three events, all inside 8 months, is enough to get me this slight leeway. I am still ready to go for UFC 200," he explained on social media.
"I will offer, like I already did, to fly to New York for the big press conference that was scheduled, and then I will go back into training. With no distractions. If this is not enough or they feel I have not deserved to sit this promotion run out this one time, well then I don't know what to say.
"For the record also - For USADA and for the UFC and my contract stipulations - I AM NOT RETIRED. (sic)"