Last week McGregor’s fight with Diaz was suddenly pulled by the UFC after McGregor failed to attend a mandatory press tour. Dana White, the UFC’s president, stated that, “nobody is exempt from promoting their fights”. In their previous fight in March, McGregor racked up his only loss in the UFC when Diaz submitted him in the second round. With McGregor’s popularity and pay-per-view draw, an immediate rematch was an obvious choice to headline UFC 200 which the company plans to be their biggest event ever.
On Twitter yesterday McGregor said: “Happy to announce that I am BACK on UFC 200! Shout out to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on getting this one done for the fans. #Respect.”
The tweet quickly went viral with countless delighted fans sharing the news across social media.
Many MMA (mixed martial arts) journalists, however, were suspicious of the tweet’s timing. Las Vegas, where the UFC is based, is eight hours behind Irish time so the news was effectively released at midnight on a Sunday. The UFC also announces major news rather than leaving it up to the fighters.
John Morgan from MMAJunkie, one of the leading MMA news sites, responded to McGregor’s announcement tweeting: “Multiple sources I have spoken with so far indicated nothing changed in regard to Conor’s exclusion from UFC 200. Nothing from his team yet.”
Other journalists expressed similar opinions.
It wasn’t until 4.30 yesterday evening that the UFC commented on the McGregor situation. In a statement to TMZ Sports, White declared that: “It’s not true. We haven’t talked to Conor or his manager since the press conference. I don’t know why he would tweet that.
“I don’t know how many more times I can say the fight is off or how many more press conferences I can have saying the fight is off for people to believe it’s off.”
This is not the first time the fighter has falsely announced fights on Twitter. In 2014 McGregor announced he would face Diego Sanchez in a bout in Mexico. The UFC never confirmed the fight and it did not happen.
While McGregor’s future with the UFC is still unclear, it appears fairly certain that he will not be fighting at UFC 200. White has repeatedly stressed that the fight is off and given McGregor’s recent insubordination, he seems unlikely to change his mind.
While Diaz was offered another opponent, at the press conference McGregor skipped he said: “I just came to fight Conor McGregor. I don’t really have too much interest in anybody else… If [the fight] ain’t gonna happen, I’m going on vacation.”