Ireland’s UFC superstar Conor McGregor sent cagefighting fans into a tailspin last night when he suggested via social media that he was hanging up his gloves for the final time.

The 27-year-old Dubliner, renowned for his bombast, went against character when he discreetly and cryptically sent a tweet that he was retiring sooner rather than later.

“I have decided to retire young,” the tweet said. “Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

Initially, fans on social media did not know what to think, with much speculation that his account had been hacked, but as the evening progressed and silence reigned at the McGregor camp, it became to look like the unbelievable was actually the truth about ‘The Notorious’.

The McGregor camp could not be contacted by journalists and then McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, posted on Twittter: “Well was fun while it lasted.”

McGregor is due to fight Nate Diaz on July 9 at UFC 200. He suffered his first loss in March when he was beaten by Diaz.

Last night, Nate Diaz also took to Twitter: “I guess my work here is done I’m retiring too,” he said.

The mystery tweet comes a week after 28-year-old Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho died from injuries sustained in an MMA fight in Dublin. McGregor was at the fight as Carvalho’s opponent, Charlie Ward, is a close friend of his. McGregor described Carvalho’s death as a “bitter pill to swallow”.

Meanwhile, Carvalho’s heartbroken brother, Alex, appeared on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, where he spoke about how his family still have not come to terms with the loss.

“I want somebody to be responsible for what happened,” he said. “ I want answers.”

He refused to criticise cagefighting, saying “my brother loved this sport, he wanted to live this sport”. However, he said: “We need more protection of fighters.”

Carvalho’s body still has not been released to his family for repatriation to Portugal.

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