McGregor quits UFC, no Diaz rematch

Nate Diaz pinning Conor McGregor against the cage during UFC 196 in Las Vegas on March 5. It was the Irishman's first pro defeat in six years.
Nate Diaz pinning Conor McGregor against the cage during UFC 196 in Las Vegas on March 5. It was the Irishman's first pro defeat in six years.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Irish fighter Conor McGregor, who said on Twitter earlier on Tuesday that he was walking away from the sport of mixed martial arts, has been pulled out of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) main event in July.

UFC president Dana White did not confirm his retirement but said he would no longer be fighting a rematch with Nate Diaz on the UFC 200 card on July 9, after refusing to fly to Las Vegas for a news conference and promotional photos.

American Diaz handed the cocky Irishman his first UFC loss earlier this month when he choked him into submission in a non-title bout at UFC 196.

"I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later," the 27-year-old said on Twitter.

The news comes a week after Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho died following injuries suffered in a bout in Dublin against McGregor's team-mate, Charlie Ward.

McGregor, who was sitting ringside at that fight, said on his Facebook page that combat sport was a "crazy game" and that Carvalho's death was "heartbreaking".

"It is such a rare occurrence that I don't know how to take this," he added.

McGregor surged through the featherweight ranks before knocking out champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds in December. He became the UFC's hottest property with his outrageous trash-talking outside the cage and vicious skills inside it.

His stunning loss in March, when the Irishman went up two divisions to fight American Diaz at welterweight, came as another blow to the UFC following the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey's loss to Holly Holm.

Holm caused one of the greatest upsets in combat sport when she knocked out Rousey in Melbourne to snatch the world bantamweight title last November.

Diaz, no stranger to trash-talking himself, responded to McGregor's Tweet with one of his own: "I guess my work here is done I'm retiring too."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'McGregor quits UFC, no Diaz rematch'. Print Edition | Subscribe