Conor McGregor and the UFC might have kissed and made up enough for McGregor to be returning to the Octagon at UFC 202. But the issue that arose between the two sides in April has not yet been patched up.
McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, said Saturday he is still battling the UFC over the amount of press he has to do. McGregor's refusal to go on a media tour in April resulted in him being pulled from UFC 200.
"We're still back and forth with media obligations," McGregor said at an event to promote his coach John Kavanagh's new book "Win or Learn." (h/t David O'Gorman) "It's going on right to this second. It's never-ending. They want to pull you left and right."
The UFC wanted McGregor to fly to Las Vegas for a press conference and photo shoot in April, followed by a two-city media tour in Stockton, Calif., and New York. At the time, McGregor was slated to rematch Nate Diaz in the UFC 200 main event.
The brash Irishman balked, though, and told the UFC he'd only show up in New York, because he was in Iceland training and wanted to focus on preparing for Diaz, the man he lost to via second-round submission at UFC 196 in March.
"I think some people don't understand how taxing that is, especially coming after a loss like that where I really truly need to look out for me and get myself right and come out the way I need to feel," McGregor said. "I can't fatigue like that and live with myself after that. Seeing the way the last fight happened, I can't live with it. I need to isolate myself and just get my work in and come back and get my revenge. And that's what I'm doing."
When McGregor said he wouldn't come to Vegas, the UFC yanked him from the card. Before they could announce that, though, he implied on Twitter that he was retiring. That one tweet blew up more than McGregor said he ever imagined it would. It had more retweets than Kobe Bryant's retirement announcement tweet from 2015.
"When you see it going all over the place, I'm like, 'Oh sh*t,'" McGregor said. "Now it's hit the fan. It was a semi-joke in it. It was kind of a negotiating tactic, going back and forth with the UFC. And then it's on CNN."
A few days after that tweet, McGregor explained himself in a statement and then a few days after that he announced he was back on the UFC 200 card. He never was, though. Just another negotiating ploy, most likely.
Now, McGregor has been booked to face Diaz at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 in Las Vegas. There is a press conference to promote that fight July 7, two days before UFC 200, in Vegas. McGregor is slated to be there. Whether he will or not, well, that might need some more jockeying to pull off.