Crikey Jack! Stop the press! Right now it is 5pm, Wednesday evening and shit has hit the fan in the UFC world.
Earlier today, Conor McGregor tweeted that he had retired...
That obviously put everyone in a spin. McGregor is the UFC's most bankable star, one of our little planet's biggest sporting stars, someone who combines sublime skill with showmanship and at 27-years-old, he announced his retirement.
Speculation then followed as you'd expect when such news breaks on a quiet Wednesday. That speculation included questions about the sincerity of McGregor's tweet and Joe Rogan who is the UFC's commentator and general expert, doubted McGregor's retirement. It must be noted that Rogan's comments came very early on in all of this and that he was reflecting the same opinion shared by thousands/millions around the world...
Darren Rovell tweeted this which kinda puts things into context very nicely regarding McGregor's reach as a global star...
Later on, the UFC via Dana White announced that McGregor had been pulled from the UFC 200 card. McGregor was due for a rematch with Nate Diaz, which would have undoubtedly broken various records in terms of reach and $$.
White stated that McGregor did not want leave Iceland to take part in the promotional activities. The UFC have standards to uphold, obligations etc and invest a lot of money into their promotional stuff so fair enough on the UFC's behalf.
McGregor retired and the UFC pulled him from UFC 200, two things we know for sure.
Why has this all happened though? Well that's where all the speculation resides.
Ariel Helwani, one of the best UFC reporters and someone who is well connected, features in this video to offer his thoughts...
Without sounding like Helwani is the speaker of the gospel, some key points from that video include...
-Those close to McGregor are taking his retirement seriously.
-McGregor may have been impacted by the death of Joao Carvalho, who died during an MMA fight in Dublin. Carvalho was fighting Charlie Ward and Ward fights out of the Straight Blast Gym Ireland, which is run by McGregor's coach John Kavanagh. McGregor and Ward fight out of the same gym and seeing first hand the death of a fellow fighter could have put things into perspective.
-Despite both the UFC and McGregor enjoying the benefits of collaborating together, they had not seen eye to eye on a few matters previously.
Who knows what will happen from this point on.
There is UFC 197 this weekend where we've got Jon Jones vs Ovince Saint Preux, Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo, Anthony Pettis vs Edson Barboza and quasi-kiwi Robert Whittaker will make his first big time appearance in a fight against Rafael Natal.
Stay tuned for another one of these if there are any more developments in the McGregor x UFC shenanigans.