Conor McGregor had a big shot in show business, but he backed out to pursue a rematch with Nate Diaz.
According to the UFC featherweight champion, everything was all lined up for him to appear in xXx: Return of Xander Cage, starring Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson, among others.
Then McGregor lost to Nate Diaz by second-round submission in March. Consumed by the defeat and a rematch, McGregor pulled out of the film project—and, to hear him tell it, a sizable payday.
"That was a seven-figure deal I turned down," McGregor said Friday during a media conference call in which Bleacher Report participated. "I just let that go. This is more important to me. I said it before, I’m not in this for show business. This is the fight business."
In this case, "this" is UFC 202 on August 20, where the McGregor-Diaz rematch serves as the main event.
"I didn’t even get a thank you" from Bisping, McGregor joked during the call.
The 28-year-old McGregor appears to have no regrets about his decision. McGregor (19-3) has put forward a brash, glitzy persona ever since becoming a star in MMA. When he lost to Diaz—a fight that took place at the 170-pound welterweight division, where McGregor had never previously competed—it took plenty of starch from the Irishman's swagger.
To hear him tell it, he has renewed his focus on training in the wake of the defeat.
"I gave up a hell of a lot of money," McGregor said during the call. "I gave up opportunities, Hollywood opportunities, for this contest. ... I wanted to restrict media. I want to solely focus on this. That should tell you how much this fight means to me. I've been preparing accordingly."
The xXx: Return of Xander Cage movie, featuring Bisping as Hawk, is scheduled to hit theaters in January 2017.