Conor McGregor retires after becoming ‘bored of the game’

Conor McGregor has dealt the UFC another blow after announcing his third retirement in the space of four years as he revealed: “I’m a bit bored of the game”.

The former featherweight and lightweight champion is unquestionably the biggest draw in mixed martial arts, having been a headliner in the UFC’s three highest grossing pay-per-views and five of the top six.

However, hot on the heels of light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal asking to be released from the UFC, McGregor unexpectedly called time on his career in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Following the conclusion of UFC 250, the 31-year-old wrote on Twitter: “Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting.

“Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my world title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it’s yours.”

The brash Irishman has made similar statements of intent in 2016 and 2019 before making swift u-turns on both occasions.

But he told ESPN on Sunday: “I’m a bit bored of the game. I’m just not excited about the game. I don’t know if it’s no crowd. I don’t know what it is. There’s just no buzz for me.

“All this waiting around. There’s nothing happening. I’m going through opponent options, and there’s nothing really there at the minute. There’s nothing that’s exciting me.”

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🙏 👼’s

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McGregor made an explosive return to the octagon in January after 15 months of inactivity, stopping American veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in just 40 seconds to take his MMA record to 22 wins and four defeats.

A rematch against fierce rival and lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had been mooted for later this year, while speculation of a ‘superfight’ against former middleweight titlist Anderson Silva has been steadily building, with the Brazilian great publicly touting a showdown over the weekend.

Only two weeks ago, McGregor declared Silva as the greatest MMA fighter of all-time but the Dubliner added he would “easily” make the top spot his own before retiring.

While that is now open to interpretation, UFC president Dana White seemed fairly relaxed about the uncertainty of McGregor’s UFC future, as well as that of Jones and Masvidal, due to the events currently gripping the world right now.

White has managed to stage five shows behind closed doors during a global coronavirus pandemic which led to the shutdown of major sporting events, most of which are yet to resume.

Speaking at the UFC 250 press conference, he said in quotes on the organisation’s YouTube channel: “The amount of people I have gunning at me right now is insane. But here we are.

“If people don’t want to fight, you don’t have to fight. If these guys want to sit out and retire right now or if anybody feels uncomfortable in any way, shape or form with what’s going on you don’t have to fight. It is all good.

“If that’s what Conor’s feeling right now, Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you. Nothing is crazy and nuts right now because everything is crazy and nuts right now. On a certain level I totally understand and get it.”

White says he had no forewarning about McGregor’s announcement but added: “That’s Conor. You know how Conor works and that’s how he does things.

“There’s been a handful of people that have made this really fun for me and Conor is one of those guys.

“When you look at the star power that Conor McGregor, the star that he became, he introduced this thing globally to people in places that had never seen it before or been interested in it.

“Conor McGregor is not going to need any money any time soon. He loves to fight, he’s passionate about it and he’s got an incredible fighter IQ. Whatever his reason is, when a guy says he wants to retire, don’t worry about it.”

McGregor joined the UFC in 2013, having established himself as a two-division Cage Warriors champion.

He needed only 13 seconds to overcome long-reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo in December 2015, the fastest victory in UFC title history.

One year later, he became the first person to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously when he stopped Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight crown – although just a few days later he was stripped of the featherweight belt.

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The champ champ

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McGregor then crossed over into boxing and though he lost to five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather in August 2017, it was a bout that reportedly earned him in excess of 100million US dollars.

McGregor returned to the UFC the following year, losing to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in a bout where the build-up and immediate aftermath was tarnished by a number of controversial flash points.

McGregor has also had a couple of brushes with the law during his time in UFC. In 2018, he was sentenced to five days of community service after video footage showed him attacking a bus containing UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov, months before their showdown.

Last year, McGregor was fined 1,000 euros after pleading guilty to assaulting an older man in a pub in Dublin.

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