'McGregor helped UFC get $4bn deal, but now they don't need him': MMA analyst Robin Black
One of the most popular possible reasons for Mcgregor's announced retirement, at least before the news of accusations of rape broke out, was a play to gain leverage.
It's no secret that the Irish MMA superstar has on many occasions publicly requested his share of the UFC. A company which, in 2016, was sold for 4 billion dollars. But the timing could not be worse to play that card, says Canadian MMA analyst Black.
"These days McGregor says he wants some equity in the company. You can see it from his perspective too. Right after he comes along and breaks pay-per-view records and turns himself and the UFC into a bigger household name, gets people talking," Black told RT Sport, via a video call.
"People who had no interest in the UFC know who Conor McGregor is, and they are interested in him. So right after that, they sell their company for 4 billion dollars and right after that ESPN says ‘Yes, we want to be in the UFC business’ This all happens right after Conor McGregor light the fuse of that company. So from his standpoint, he wants a piece of that. He’s publicly said that. That seems fair. It really does.
"However, to ask for those things, you do that at the time of ultimate leverage. The time of ultimate leverage is when he is the biggest star in the world, when everybody is excited about him, when everybody is talking about him. This is not that time.
"He is a guy who has been arrested a couple of times, he has all types of conflicts, he’s selling whiskey, and selling McGregor Fast program, and selling all those other things. He is not the most exciting fighter in the world in people’s imagination right now. And instead, the UFC is the one with all the leverage.Also on rt.com 'Worst kept secret in Dublin': Social media reacts to McGregor rape allegations being made public
"They’ve never seemed bigger, they’ve never seemed more relevant. The powerhouse ESPN makes them seem even bigger in America. So Conor McGregor, if this is a ploy, it’s a ploy at the wrong time," he added.
Former two-weight UFC champion McGregor announced he was calling time on his MMA career on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to inform his followers of the decision.
"Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today," he wrote.
"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!"
Later the same day it was reported that McGregor is currently being investigated by Irish police for a sexual assault that happened in the country in December.
His spokesperson officially denied any connection between the timing of the retirement announcement and reports of the investigation.Also on rt.com 'McGregor is not obsessed with fighting anymore, wouldn't beat top guys': MMA analyst Robin Black