Conor McGregor made waves just one month ago when he abruptly 'retired' from MMA, before being pulled from UFC 200 for failing to meet his media commitments for the fight. McGregor finally opened up about the situation this morning to Kenny Mayne of ESPN.
"I was in a time where I was like, figuring out something," McGregor explained. "I didn't just shut out and say no to everything. I just wanted to do reasonable media, and then, hey, all of a sudden, 'Conor, it's three months from the fight, we've got to drag you to 40-hour flights to come and do a runaround, New York, Vegas, California, 70 press conferences, 70 talk shows, adverts, all of this,' and it's like, I already made you $400 million last week. That was only last week, that fight. You know, I need to get right. That's how it all came about."
McGregor said that the disagreement stemmed from him wanting to make sure that his training was on point as he came off of a loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196
"I wanted to focus and I was deep in the process, and especially at that particular moment, I just wanted a little bit more time. I didn't shut it off completely. Reasonable media is what I said. I said I would do New York, I said I would do everything else after that. I just needed another little bit to set myself, and then the lack of communication, they weren't having it. They were trying to push back on me, I was trying to push back on them, it blew up then," McGregor said.
When McGregor didn't get what he wanted, he took to Twitter to announce that he was 'retiring young.' McGregor said he didn't expect what would happen after that, but got a little entertainment out of it, at least.
"It blew up," McGregor said. "I was just kind of having fun at the start. It was kind of half-hearted, and then it just went (wild), and now all of a sudden you're off UFC 200, and I was like, 'alright, well f--k you too then.' It was fun -- seeing it all blow up like that, it was amusing for a while."
Despite the attention received, McGregor told Mayne that there were plenty of occasions when he felt as if he'd made a mistake. In the end, he feels that he made the right call.
"There were times when seeing the press conferences take place I was like, 'ah, I should have just jumped on the damn flight.' I should've just stuck it out and went with it. But sometimes you've gotta do what's right for you, and not do what's right for everybody else, especially if you've done what's right for everybody else a million times over," McGregor said. "You should have the right to be able to do what's right for you sometimes."
Fortunately for the UFC, McGregor hasn't actually retired, and says that he still plans on fighting. McGregor also referenced the Floyd Mayweather fight rumors that have been swirling for several weeks.
"I'm committed to the fight game. I enjoy competition. I enjoy challenges. So, if a challenge is in front of me, and it appeals to me, then I will go and I will conquer it. I'm open to challenges," McGregor told Mayne.
McGregor was quick to point out that the rumors didn't come from his side of the table, it was Mayweather who admittedly started them. UFC President Dana White shot down the rumors, but McGregor said that the rumored purse amount was comical to him.
"It was him that leaked the rumor. He gets $100 million, and I get $7 million?," McGregor asked. "That is a pay cut to me. I don't take pay cuts. I thought boxing was where the money was at. $7 million is absolutely laughable. He's talking $100 million. I'm also talking $100 million. I'm 27 years of age and I'm just about halfway through a $100 million contract."
To close the conversation, McGregor said that Mayweather needed him, not the other way around. While Mayweather earns significantly more than any star in combat sports history, his last pay-per-view did approximately 1/3 of the sales that UFC 196 did.
"He needs me, I don't need him, that's the truth of it. Who else he can fight? He fights someone else in the boxing realm, all of a sudden the pay goes from $100 million to $15 million. He needs me. If he wants to talk, we can talk, but it's me who is in control here. I don't really care about rules," McGregor said of an MMA fighter facing a boxer. "He can make all the rules he wants. I know he will not want to fight in a mixed martial arts contest in a true fight. If he wants to fight in a limited fight, that's no problem we can do that. I will set a aside the many forms of fighting that I practice in and I will focus on one."