Everyone has been caught up in the unfolding drama between Conor McGregor and the UFC. Things kicked off when 'The Notorious' announced his sudden retirement on Twitter last week. With over 170 thousand retweets, McGregor set social media abuzz with controversy.
I have decided to retire young.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 19 April 2016
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
At 27-years-old and with a featherweight title to his resume, many were shocked with the announcement and suspected that his account may have been hacked. Shortly after the tweet, the UFC revealed that the brash Irishman had been pulled from his welterweight rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200 because he refused to fly out to Las Vegas for media obligations.
The drama continued. McGregor released a Facebook statement where he revealed he was still training for Diaz and simply wanted some leeway from promotional duties for all the hard work he's done in the past. Dana White and co. didn't comply.
The UFC remained firm in their decision and hinted that McGregor would return to defend his 145-pound title later in the year. Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will duke it out for the interim FW belt in the co-main event of UFC 200 - now headlined by Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier - setting the winner up for a title unification bout with McGregor.
Former welterweight stud Dan Hardy, who was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a rare health condition, believes McGregor's antics are a sign that he's feeling the pressure of his loss to Diaz.
"I think his statement was very well written and I think he stated his case very well," Hardy said, per Tom Rooney of MMA Junkie. "When he spoke about that a time comes when you need to stop handing out fliers, I think he's feeling the pressure of that loss and the pressure of the fight that's coming up."
It did come as a surprise that, McGregor, who has made a name for himself as the promotional king, refused to attend one of the biggest press conferences of the year. The SBG Ireland product was submitted by Diaz in the second round at UFC 196.
Hardy can reason with both parties, and believes McGregor's presence in the media is instrumental to the UFC's pay-per-view success.
"But, at the same time, the UFC are trying to make this the biggest event in their history," Hardy continued. "It's UFC 200. They're doing three events in one week, and they know how important it is for people to know that McGregor is on the card. He really is key to the pay-per-view sales. As important as it is for Nate to be there, really it's the fight with Conor that people want to see. Nate wants that as well, so it's a really awkward situation."
It's estimated UFC 196 secured 1.5 million buys, as revealed by Dana White last month. The only other pay-per-view to generate such numbers was the milestone UFC 100 event headlined by Brock Lesnar in 2009. The mega-card secured a whopping 1.6 million buys, the highest in the promotion's history.
With or without McGregor, UFC 200 will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 9.