Conor McGregor surprised the sporting world on Monday night when he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts with a social media post on Twitter.
”Hey guys quick announcement,” McGregor wrote. “I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!”
And while it’s still not clear whether this is an actual retirement or just a negotiating tactic similar to his 2016 Twitter ‘retirement,’ UFC president Dana White is taking the Irish superstar at his word and doing media discussing the issue like Conor is really done.
During an interview with TMZ Sports (recorded before explosive allegations of sexual assault against McGregor were revealed in a New York Times article), the question of UFC ownership shares came up. McGregor has mentioned he wants equity in the company as far back as November 2016 after he became double champ at Madison Square Garden. He reiterated that desire in a recent public Q&A and White confirmed McGregor had asked for a piece of the UFC over text messages.
”He wrote ‘I feel like I should own a piece of the company.’” White revealed. “And I said ‘Conor, you know that’s never going to happen.’ But this was a couple of weeks ago.”
“But Conor has never come out, sat down with me and said ‘I want a piece of the company and here’s why.’ We’ve never had that conversation. We did it in text two weeks ago. Like I’ve said, I’ve never had a bad conversation with Conor McGregor in the entire time he’s been with this company. You know I love the guy. He’s got plenty of money. If he wants to retire that’s his decision, and I always say when you start talking about retirement, it’s probably something you should do if that’s what you’re thinking.”
When pushed by TMZ as to whether a proper sit down conversation could result in UFC ownership, White said the only way to get in was to buy in.
”Listen, if you want to own a piece of the company, you have to put up the money to buy a piece of the company,” White said with a laugh. “That’s how it works. These are all parts of negotiations. If you wanted to buy into the UFC right now, the valuation is pretty huge.”