Conor McGregor announces MMA retirement via Twitter for second time, but will this one stick?

Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has decided to retire for the second time in three years, again announcing his decision casually in a social media post. McGregor (21-4), the superstar who has shattered or challenged pay-per-view records in both mixed martial arts and boxing, tweeted a "quick announcement" early Tuesday morning declaring his intentions to walk way from fighting at age 30. 

What's unclear at the moment is whether McGregor's intentions are true in light of his booming whiskey business or whether this is a public negotiating ploy with UFC. Just hours before his tweet, McGregor appeared on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" in a pre-taped conversation inside a New York City bar. McGregor sang Irish folk songs with Fallon and referenced ongoing negotiations for a July return to the Octagon. 

McGregor's actions are reminiscent of a 2016 tweet in which he nearly broke the internet by similarly announcing his retirement in the midst of a dispute with UFC that led to "The Notorious" being pulled from the main event of UFC 200 for refusing to fly to Las Vegas from his training camp in Iceland for a press conference. In that case, McGregor returned from his "retirement" weeks later to announce he was headlined UFC 202 in a rematch against Nate Diaz. 

Despite the parallels of the announcement, UFC president Dana White responded to a text from ESPN's Brett Okamoto shortly after McGregor's tweet to declare he believed the news was true and added that it "totally makes sense" considering the money McGregor is making after launching his Irish whiskey line called Proper 12.

McGregor, who won titles at featherweight and lightweight to become the first UFC fighter to hold multiple championships simultaneously, hasn't fought since he snapped a two-year layoff in October 2018 when he was submitted by current 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The UFC 229 main event not only broke PPV records for the sport, the ugly aftermath saw both fighters suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a post-fight melee. 

The suspension handed out to McGregor ends in April. However, supporting the notion that Tuesday's retirement may be nothing more than a negotiating tactic is the fact that White revealed Monday to the Barstool Sports podcast "My Mom's Basement" that McGregor pulled out of talks for a July return against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone out of protest for not wanting to be booked in the co-main event of the card. 

McGregor certainly has the financial cushion to play hardball for as long as he wants. Not only are his whiskey and clothing lines reportedly successful, he earned $100 million in 2017 during his two-year break from MMA when he lost to Floyd Mayweather in a blockbuster PPV that served as McGregor's pro boxing debut. 

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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