'I have no idea what's going on... the world's going crazy': Dana White responds to Conor McGregor 'retirement' (VIDEO)
Dana White appeared to caught just as unawares as the rest of the MMA world when learning of UFC megastar Conor McGregor's latest retirement announcement, with the promotion chief stating "the world is a crazy place right now."
McGregor, 31, took to Twitter to claim that he's calling it quits, sharing a picture of himself and his mother and writing: "Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting.
"Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!
"Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!"Also on rt.com ‘I’ve decided to retire from fighting’: UFC star Conor McGregor claims he's calling it quits AGAIN
It's not the first time the Irishman has claimed to be hanging up his gloves - having done so in 2016 and 2019, only to reverse his decision.
Speaking after UFC 250 in Las Vegas on Saturday night, White said he had been in the dark about the announcement.
"One of my people grabbed me and showed it to me on social media. That's Conor, you know how Conor works, that's how he does things," White said.
"There's been a handful of people that have made this thing [the UFC] really fun for me, and Conor is one of those guys.
"I said the other day, when you look at the star power that Conor McGregor [has], the star that he became, he introduced this thing globally to people...
"Every star we've ever had has contributed to building this brand. Conor's been fun, it's been awesome... I heard some information today, Proper No. Twelve whiskey has sold an obscene amount of liquor.
"Conor McGregor's not going to need any money any time soon. He loves to fight, he's passionate about it, and he's got an incredible fighter IQ...
Given McGregor's history of backtracking on retirement announcements, fans are unsurprisingly skeptical that the Irishman will follow through on his statement - but White signaled he would not stand in his way.
"You know my feelings, when a guy says he wants to retire, don't worry about it, you do your thing man...
"He's been wanting to fight, he's frustrated because he wants to fight.
"But who do you want him to fight right now? [Tony] Ferguson, [Jorge] Masvidal? Who do you fight, and where do you fight Conor McGregor right now?"Also on rt.com 'I'm ready, Conor's ready': UFC legend Silva says he's ALREADY cutting weight for McGregor superfight
McGregor's move comes as White faces a pay revolt from some of the UFC's biggest names.
Longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has threatened to walk away over money issues for a fight with heavyweight powerhouse Francis Ngannou, while popular welterweight Jorge Masvidal has said he may do the same.
White said the current state of the world meant he was unsurprised by developments.
"I'll remind everybody that we're in a pandemic, the world is in a crazy place right now with all these things that are going on," the UFC chief said.
"I think that everybody feels this right now, there's no fans, we can't travel the fights around.
"I think everybody is p*ssed off, confused, they've been locked up in their houses for three and a half months, people are wearing masks, there's protests, there's riots, the list goes on and on.
"If you don't think what I'm doing right now is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, if you don't think three times a day I'm ready to throw my hands up and say, 'f*uck this sh*t', and believe me, the people I have gunning at me right now is insane...
"If these guys want to sit out and retire right now, of if anyone feels uncomfortable in any way, shape or form with what's going on, you don't have to fight."Also on rt.com 'Stop playing us and the fans': Jorge Masvidal BLASTS UFC over pay, saying 'If I'm not worth it let me go'
"If that's what Conor's feeling right now, Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal… I feel you. It's not like I'm going, 'holy sh*t, this is crazy, this is nuts'.
"Nothing is crazy and nuts right now because everything is crazy and nuts right now.
"So, on a certain level I totally understand it and get it."
Specifically regarding Jones and Masvidal, White said they had not long signed new long-term deals with the promotion.
"We just signed a new eight-fight deal with Jorge Masvidal, he's got seven fights left on his deal.
"My people were working with him and trying to get a deal done with him when he already has a deal.
"Jon Jones has like seven fights left on his deal, he signed a new deal less than a year ago.
"We just did a deal with both guys... this was months ago."Also on rt.com 'Bones out': What next for UFC pound-for-pound king Jon Jones after bitter contract spat with Dana White?
White said his ultimate message for all UFC fighters was that they don't have to compete if they don't want to.
"We've been here before, this isn't the first rodeo...
"I have no idea why this is going on. We're in a f*cking pandemic right now, the world is going crazy and all these guys are like, 'I want more money too, I want more money too'.
"Nothing is normal right now, and I am the only guy that's pulling off sports events right now.
"I don't f*cking know, I don't give a f*ck, I doing the best I can do to keep the bus on the highway here.
"I don't give a f*ck. If people don't want to fight, they don't have to fight.
"If people are afraid of Covid-19, stay home... whatever your deal is, you don't have to do it."
McGregor was last in action in January, when he made a successful return to the octagon after more than a year out, defeating Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone 40 seconds into their welterweight bout in Las Vegas.
In recent days the Irishman has talked up a potential catchweight bout with Brazilian legend Anderson Silva, after naming him 'the GOAT' in his personal all-time greats of MMA list.Also on rt.com Khabib vs McGregor II? Dana White hints that Conor McGregor is next in line for title shot after Justin Gaethje (VIDEO)