John Kavanagh clears up Conor McGregor's retirement tweet and why he's off UFC 200
John Kavanagh has explained everything he knows regarding all that drama surrounding Conor McGregor and UFC 200.
The SBG head coach told his side of the story on Monday's MMA hour, revealing that he did not know that Conor McGregor had announced he was back on UFC 200, which Dana White's denying, until he saw McGregor's tweet while he was with some of his fighters in Iceland on Monday morning.
"We left Iceland very early this morning and we ended up getting separated, going different ways. I turned my phone on. I was with Gunni and Paddy Holohan and thing's started going crazy, I saw this message."
"I didn't know about this and neither did his manager, so it was news to both of us when we saw it. I haven't speaken (sic) to Conor since, because I had a bit of a day with Paddy, and I was helping Gunni get settled too. So, I presume I'm going to see Conor at training and find out the exact news, but that's how I heard about it."
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 25, 2016
Kavanagh confirmed that McGregor being taken out of his rematch against Nate Diaz which at UFC 200 was in retaliation to the Notorious refusing to show up at Friday's press conference for the event in Las Vegas.
"Things seem to be coming down to... I guess ego isn't the right word, but at some stage you've got to see that it's pointless. It upset so many fans that wanted to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that it brought in over a press conference where it tends to be more or less the same questions asked every time."
"It's not the same for Conor to have to travel half way across the world when others only have to go down the road. We're aiming for and training for 200. I just hope we get some good news."
Kavanagh feels that forcing McGregor to attend the press conference while he was just beginning his fight camp was unfair, as he had to travel a lot further than some of the other fighters in attendance. However, he is hopeful that soon everyone will come to their senses and the promotion's biggest star will feature on one of the UFC's biggest ever events.
"I don't know what this obsession is with Vegas. UFC is a global sport, it's not a Vegas sport. I don't see why everything has to be done there, especially when one fighter who's beginning a 12-week training cycle really has to mess up a couple of weeks of training."
"I really hope that because of he's taken so many late notice fights, he's never caused a problem with them and he's generated so much money and he's such a large charismatic character in the UFC, that for the sake of one half hour press conference that they can't let a fantastic fight that everyone's excited to see happen."
When it emerged first that McGregor had retired over a media obligation, a lot of fans were skeptical. However, according to Kavanagh, this is exactly how it all played out. McGregor was reluctant to make the appearance and both he and his manager were in contact with the UFC to try and arrange an alternative, but the promotion were having none of it.
"I did hear that they wanted to do this thing in Vegas and there was a back and forth between Conor and his manager, 'is there a way around this or can we reschedule it?'"
"I thought, we're going be out there for five weeks before the event, so why not do it during that five-week period rather than have to add that long, long back and forward journey just when we're starting our real training for this fight, only to have to readjust again a few weeks later when we move out there for five weeks."
"I thought there was pretty good alternatives being offered. New York was agreed to, that was no problem because it was a lot less stressful of a journey. You can kind of go over on Friday and be back on Sunday, it can be just a weekend kind of thing. Yeah, but everything was being more or less rejected, and then there was the stand-off thing."
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya's later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Of course, the massively surprising news last week was McGregor announcing his retirement from fighting on Twitter. Kavanagh explained that the Dubliner was completely serious about walking away from the sport at that time and that he only found out after the tweet was sent.
"That was not a joke. How I found out is I was coaching in Mjolnir in Iceland and he showed up late for he session. I was telling him to hurry up and get on the mat and he said, 'oh yeah, I've just retired.' So I said, 'just do the session and we'll talk about that."
"We trained for a couple of hours and we went outside. I turned on my phone and I seen (sic) that he's actually put it out there, but yeah, he was content to leave it at that. So yeah, that was not a joke."
Kavanagh tried to talk McGregor out of hanging up his gloves, but he conceded that if McGregor was to fight Diaz again, he needed to ensure that they did everything in their power to ensure that he was in the best condition possible for the rematch.
"Sometimes I'm the handbrake on his enthusiasm. We had a conversation, I thought it was probably a little bit rash, but Conor's a special individual and these people tend to have a mindset that's hard for me to understand, but that's what made him brilliant and interesting to follow."
"I basically said if it comes down to the press conference or the fight, we should probably let this one go because I don't think it will be the best version of him showing up. I'd rather let that go, as much as I want that fight, than to half ass do it again."
So that clears that up then, everything except whether he's on UFC 200 or not.