Conor McGregor Retirement Draws Skepticism from Bookmakers
Monday night, Conor McGregor shocked the sports world by announcing his sudden retirement from MMA in a tweet, though his announcement is being viewed with some skepticism by bookmakers.
Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 26, 2019
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!
For a showman like McGregor, such a demure retirement was both unexpected and off brand. After all, just last month, Georges St-Pierre, held a news conference for his retirement and GSP, though a star in his own right, is not nearly as bombastic as McGregor. Perhaps that’s why oddsmakers don’t seem to be buying it.
Per Paddy Power, Conor McGregor is -250 to fight in the UFC before the end of 2022. To put that into perspective, Conor is a bigger favorite to return in the next three years than he was to win in all but three of his UFC bouts.
Is Conor McGregor’s Retirement Real?
There’s good reason to be skeptical. In 2016, McGregor posted a similar Tweet, “retiring” from the sport after the UFC forced him out of a headlining spot on UFC 200 because McGregor refused to do a media tour for the event.
I have decided to retire young.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
Recently, there have been reports that negotiations between McGregor and the UFC have not gone well. He was rumored to be facing Donald Cerrone sometime this summer, but Cerrone said the bout fell through because McGregor was being difficult. Then, just last week, McGregor told fans he was in negotiations with the UFC but was asking for his “rightful shares” in the company.
To be fair, while improbable, McGregor’s retirement could be legitimate. “Notorious” has earned well over $150 million through fighting alone and recently launched a whiskey brand that has exceeded expectations in its first six months. McGregor has also maintained for years that he intended to “Get in. Get rich. Get out.”
After suffering a thorough defeat in his last bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and being 2-3 in his past five fights (counting The Money Fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.), now could be the perfect time for McGregor to walk away from the sport.
Or, there could be another reason entirely.
Will Conor McGregor Join the WWE?
Immediately after McGregor made his announcement, former UFC champion and current WWE champion Ronda Rousey showed her support of his decision and then appeared on SportsCenter where she commented on his decision to walk away.
Rousey will be headlining Wrestlemania 35 next month, and the odds of McGregor appearing in the ring at that event are currently Even Money per Paddy Power.
So, is McGregor jumping ship to pro wrestling? Oddsmakers definitely think it is possible. Paddy Power has McGregor’s odds at becoming WWE Champion before the end of 2022 at +200, which makes sense. McGregor’s brash persona fits in nicely in with the WWE ranks and his “Billionaire Strut” was taken from Vince McMahon himself.
But even if he does switch to pro wrestling for a time, it’s hard to imagine McGregor will stay retired from MMA for long. He’s the biggest star in the history of the sport and he’s still in his prime.
Perhaps more importantly, lucrative rematches with Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov await him. It’s tough to see McGregor walking away from that much money on the table.
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