By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Conor McGregor could actually retire from fighting and still be set for life with his other business ventures. So his latest retirement announcement, as surprising as it may be, is more believable than the last.
McGregor tweeted out of nowhere in the early hours on Tuesday that he’s retiring from “the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art'”. If the 30-year-old is indeed done with fighting, he retires with a 21-4 record and two championships to his credit, a reign as the UFC featherweight champion and another as the lightweight champion.
He never officially lost either title; UFC stripped him of the featherweight title after he won the lightweight championship, and the lightweight title due to inactivity. His only fight since Nov. 12, 2016 was a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Khabib defeated McGregor via submission and successfully defended the UFC lightweight championship that he won after UFC stripped it from McGregor.
McGregor’s last “retirement” came on Apr. 19, 2016, also via Twitter. It also came after defeat, losing via submission to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. He returned four months later and beat Diaz in a rematch at UFC 202, then fought again that November when he beat Eddie Alvarez via TKO.
This newest announcement, however, appears more realistic. It ostensibly has nothing to do with age or ability. McGregor may be 30 but is likely fully capable of fighting for years to come if he so desired. He even remarked that he owes Diaz a third match – less than a week ago.
What caused McGregor’s drastic change of heart? It could simply be his soaring whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve. Shortly after launching in the U.S. and Ireland, overwhelming demand for the whiskey outran the supply. He’s planning on expanding to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Canada in 2019.
McGregor’s net worth according to the Irish Times (via the Evening Standard) translates to about $133.4 million, based on findings released in recent days. So it’s possible that McGregor can easily call it a career from UFC based on the success of Proper No. Twelve, despite still being the biggest draw in MMA.
You know who agrees? UFC president Dana White.
“He has the money to retire, and his whiskey is KILLIN’ it,” White said in a statement, per MMA Junkie. “It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire too. He’s retiring from fighting, not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy, and I’m sure he has other things he’s working on.
“He has been so fun to watch. He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him, and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”
It would be surprising if White was that comfortable simply letting McGregor walk away without trying to make it worth his while to keep fighting, if only for one last bout against Diaz to complete the trilogy. But McGregor’s massive success out of the Octagon makes his apparent retirement much more plausible now than it was three years ago.
Then again … would Conor really let Khabib get the last word in like this?
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.