The UFC announced Tuesday that it had pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 200 on July 9.
UFC President Dana White said on SportsCenter that the organization pulled McGregor from the card because he "refused to fly to [Las] Vegas for promotional stuff," per Jeremy Botter of the Houston Chronicle.
White also spoke with Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports:
Ben Fowlkes of USA Today didn't buy the explanation:
McGregor was scheduled to face Nate Diaz in a rematch of their welterweight bout from UFC 196 in March. Diaz won that fight by submission.
The news comes on the heels of McGregor's announcement on Twitter that he is retiring:
His coach, John Kavanagh, also tweeted a message that suggested McGregor is hanging up his gloves:
One factor in this saga might be the death of Joao Carvalho, who died from head injuries he suffered during his April 9 fight against Charlie Ward. McGregor was in the crowd in Dublin for that fight to support his teammate Ward.
After Carvalho's death, McGregor posted the following on his Facebook page:
To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking. We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don't know how to take this.
It's unclear whether that experience spurred McGregor's decision to announce his retirement or whether he simply wanted a way out of UFC 200. Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com speculated on that front:
UFC and MMA fans will likely be hoping McGregor's retirement isn't permanent. He is the UFC featherweight champion and has a 19-3 record with just one loss in the UFC since joining the organization in 2013.
He's one of the sport's biggest stars and has one of its brashest and most marketable personalities. Given the unusual and abrupt way this situation has played out, a few more twists and turns are likely to come.
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