Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion, Conor McGregor, will not compete in the main event of UFC 200, which is scheduled to take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 9, 2016.
Just three weeks ago, company president Dana White described McGregor as "obsessed" with a Welterweight rematch against Nate Diaz, who submitted "Notorious" at UFC 196 with a rear-naked choke last month. It was a rematch few mixed martial arts (MMA) fans wanted to see so soon, including Diaz, who called it a "crazy" decision.
Not as crazy, though, as what happened earlier this afternoon, which is when McGregor took to Twitter.com to announce his "young retirement." Most fight fans thought it was just a troll job, but then his head coach John Kavanagh more or less confirmed the shocking news hours later.
And then just now, White appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" (watch full video here) to announce that McGregor was off the UFC 200 card.
BREAKING: Conor McGregor will not compete in UFC 200. pic.twitter.com/u7SN5B5ICL— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 19, 2016
White explained on the broadcast that McGregor refused to take part in recent promotional events for UFC 200. It's a situation eerily similar to when Nick Diaz didn't do his part to promote UFC 137 and was pulled in favor of Carlos Condit. However, that Diaz was nowhere near the superstar that McGregor is today, perhaps lending credence to reports that there is a little trouble in paradise.
Either way, White explains his side of the story:
"Conor didn't want to come to Las Vegas and be part of any promotional training. He's in Iceland training. He felt leaving right now would hurt his training. But every other fighter on the card is coming. It doesn't make you exempt. We spend a lot of money on this stuff.... Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he can answer that question. I don't know. But he will not be a part of UFC 200."
It's unclear at this time who will fill his shoes opposite Diaz at this time ... if anyone at all. One thing is clear: UFC will be under pressure to deliver a star-studded, historic show this summer without one of its biggest draws.