(Reuters) - Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has ruled out any possibility of Conor McGregor fighting on the UFC 200 card, despite the Irish fighter backtracking on his ‘retirement’ and saying he was still training to face Nate Diaz.
McGregor was due to face Diaz in a welterweight rematch on July 9 but was pulled from the card in Las Vegas after he refused to travel to Nevada for promotional appearances.
McGregor, who surged through the featherweight ranks before knocking out champion Jose Aldo of Brazil in 13 seconds in December, has become the UFC’s hottest property with his outrageous trash-talking and vicious fighting skills.
White acknowledged McGregor’s importance to the UFC but said he would not be fighting on the card.
“I want him to fight, but it’s not right,” White said. “Conor has a huge fan base, people love to see him fight ... But UFC 200 is going to go on (without him).”
Earlier in the week, the Irishman criticized the media circus surrounding the sport and hinted at retirement, before later clarifying that he planned to continue fighting.
On his Facebook page, McGregor said the promotional and media obligations had become a distraction.
“I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting,” he said. “There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.”
Diaz, who stunned McGregor in their fight in March, said he was not interested in meeting anyone else and would instead go “on vacation.”
Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Peter Rutherford