Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) on Tuesday because he wants to compete in an environment where he’s respected for his athletic talent, as well as his brand value.
Not because he’s dodging allegations of sexual assault.
That's according to spokesperson Karen Kessler, who insists The New York Times “rumor” about McGregor’s arrest in Ireland has been circulating for several months and should not be considered related to any reports (like this one) concerning McGregor’s career.
“This story has been circulating for some time, and it is unclear why it is being reported now,” Kessler told MMA Junkie. “The assumption that the Conor retirement announcement today is related to this rumor is absolutely false. Should Conor fight in the future, it must be in an environment where fighters are respected for their value, their skill, their hard work, and their dedication to the sport.”
McGregor was the highest paid athlete on the UFC roster and holds the record for the promotion’s most profitable pay-per-view (PPV) event (UFC 229). Not surprisingly, “Notorious” also claimed the second (UFC 202) and third (UFC 196) spot on that list, as well.
As wealthy as McGregor became, thanks in part to his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, he still wanted more, including equity in the promotion. That request appears to have been denied, leading to his eventual retirement.
Based on headlines like this, perhaps it’s for the best.