On a night when Twitter-mogul Donald Trump dominated the Republican primary in his home state of New York, all his tweets combined managed only a tiny fraction of the attention paid to UFC fighter Conor McGregor’s cryptic 13-word declaration.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Given its brevity, it’s no surprise the popular Irishman’s tweet has engendered wide-ranging theories as to its intent. Some have speculated that McGregor felt compelled to leave the fight game after seeing teammate Joao Carvalho succumb to his injuries after a brutal TKO loss in Dublin a little over a week ago.
Terrible news regarding Joao Carvalho.
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.
I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can’t understand it.
My condolences go out to Joao’s family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all.
Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.
It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.
I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.
Rest in peace, Joao.
[As seen on Conor McGregor’s Facebook page]
Others have conjectured that Conor’s supposed retirement is a negotiation ploy, designed to extract more money from the UFC for upcoming fights. Still others pointed out that technically he didn’t write that he’s retired now, only that he has decided to retire young — perhaps at some future date.
NATE DIAZ “RETIRES”
No matter the intent, McGregor’s announcement put the kibosh on his scheduled rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200. For his part, Diaz responded to McGregor’s tweet with a retirement message of his own, followed a few hours later by a tweet in celebration of pot smoking.
I guess my work here is done I'm retiring too✌🏼️👊🏼
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 19, 2016
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 20, 2016
Over the past day, a scrum of MMA fighters and fans have felt compelled to weigh in on the curious case of Conor McGregor and his retirement.
I remember it like it was yesterday when Conor, Rousey and Sage could do no wrong. My oh my how things have changed. WOW
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) April 20, 2016
— Sean Strickland (@SStricklandMMA) April 20, 2016
Did someone finally take power away from the UFC? What's going on here? Time for a Union https://t.co/thhIYXtCld
— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) April 19, 2016
The hell with it. I RETIRE TOO! #BackToMomsBasement
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) April 19, 2016
So it seems the McGregor retirement rumor is true. My thoughts? It's about the ca$h. Goes to UFC wanting more money & they said no. #UFC200
— Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) April 20, 2016
WHO CUT THE CHEESE?
Irish sports writer Karl O’Shaughnessy conducted a Twitter poll as to what kind of cheese McGregor was referring to in his retirement tweet. By a huge margin, cheddar won out over gouda, brie and edam.
— Karl O'Shaughnessy (@OShaughnessyK) April 19, 2016
Lastly, no emotion-laden sports story can conclude without an appearance by Crying Jordan…
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) April 19, 2016