UFC featherweight Conor McGregor opened up in an ESPN interview that aired Sunday about the feud with the UFC that lead to his removal from UFC 200.
“I was in a time where I was like, figuring out something,” said McGregor, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “I didn’t just shut out and say no to everything. I just wanted to do reasonable media, and then, hey, all of a sudden, ‘Conor, it’s three months from the fight, we’ve got to drag you [onto] 40-hour flights to come and do a runaround, New York, Vegas, California, 70 press conferences, 70 talk shows, adverts, all of this,’ and it’s like, I already made you $400 million last week. That was only last week, that fight. I need to get right.
“That’s how it all came about. I just wanted to focus and I was deep in the process, and especially at that particular moment, I just wanted a little bit more time. I didn’t shut it off completely. Reasonable media, is what I said. I said I would do New York. I said I would do everything else after that. I just needed another little bit to set myself, and then the lack of communication, they weren’t having it. They were trying to push back on me, I was trying to push back on them, and look, it blew up then.”
“I’ll tell you what, it blew up. I was just kind of having fun at the start. It was kind of half-hearted, and then it just went [crazy], and now all of a sudden you’re off UFC 200, and I was like, ‘alright, well f*** you too then.’ It was fun. Seeing it all blow up like that, it was amusing for a while.
“There were times when I was … seeing the press conferences take place, and I was like, ah, I should’ve just jumped on the damn flight. I should’ve just stuck it out and went with it. But sometimes you’ve gotta do what’s right for you, and not do what’s right for everybody else — and especially if you’ve done what’s right for everybody else a million times over, you should have the right to be able to do what’s right for you sometimes. That’s what I felt.”
“I’m committed to the fight game. I enjoy competition. I enjoy challenges. So, if a challenge is in front of me, and it appeals to me, then I will go and I will conquer it.
“I’m open to challenges. I enjoy fighting, period.”
McGregor met this week with UFC bosses Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White, and reported that things were “in a good place.” A meeting with Nate Diaz did not go as well, at all, although a rematch at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 reportedly remains in the works.