(Reuters) - Two days after announcing his retirement, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Conor McGregor said he has not quit at all before taking aim at the media circus surrounding the sport.
“I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting,” the 27-year-old Irishman said in a statement on Thursday.
“There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.”
McGregor is widely acknowledged to be the biggest draw in the UFC, and his the statement was peppered with references to how much revenue he has generated and how much media work he had to do.
McGregor surged through the featherweight ranks before knocking out champion Jose Aldo of Brazil in 13 seconds in December.
He has become the UFCs hottest property with his outrageous trash-talking and vicious fighting skills.
Currently training in Iceland, McGregor was pulled from the card at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9, where he was due to face Nate Diaz in a welterweight rematch of a bout he lost in March, after he refused to travel to Nevada for media work associated with the event.
Despite his insistence that McGregor should have honored those obligations, UFC boss Dana White adopted a conciliatory tone following McGregor’s original retirement announcement.
“I need to isolate myself now,” McGregor said.
“I am facing a taller, longer, heavier man. I need to prepare properly this time. I can not dance for you this time.”
Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond