For the last week, Conor McGregor’s ”retirement” has been dominating the MMA headlines. When McGregor initially made the announcement, reactions were split. Many didn’t believe the retirement to be genuine, but others, including UFC President Dana White, treated the retirement as if it were real. A week removed from the announcement though and the consensus seems to be shifting to the idea that we haven’t seen the last of Conor McGregor. On Monday, White even walked back his belief the McGregor was done and now, McGregor’s closest teammate and training partner has echoed those sentiments.
Speaking yesterday with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Artem Lobov addressed his friend and teammate’s sudden retirement from MMA, saying that he strongly suspects McGregor will be back in the cage before too long.
“I don’t actually know much info on that but one thing I do know, I know that Conor absolutely loves the fight game,” Lobov said. “He truly loves it. Look, I always say this, 99 percent of people in the UFC would be gone if they have made $100 million. They just wouldn’t be there anymore and he’s still there. Why? Because he loves the fight game. He loves fighting. So I know he’s got something special in store for us, that’s for sure.”
McGregor and Lobov came up together on the mats of the Straight Blast Gym in Ireland. They quickly became friends, with Lobov eventually becoming McGregor’s main training partner and a staple of McGregor’s corners all through his rise to superstardom. Few men are better equipped to judge the seriousness of McGregor’s retirement, and Lobov remains convinced Conor has more fights left in him.
“I think [he will fight again],” Lobov said. “I think he will definitely put away a few more guys. I just know him. I know he loves this game. He loves the fight game and this is not just a job to him. This is him. He is the fight game.”
But whether not fighting is in his blood, McGregor also has a full plate at the moment. His personal whiskey brand, Proper 12, has been taking off globally and he is still attempting to build his own clothing line. Then there are the legal issues, with McGregor having recently been arrested for allegedly smashing and stealing a fan’s cell phone and currently being under investigation for a sexual allegation in Ireland.
Despite these other concerns, general consensus is that McGregor’s retirement is actually a negotiation tactic by “Notorious” in his continuing quest to get equity in the UFC. Dana White recently made it clear that would never happen though and Lobov, who was granted his release by the UFC in January, thinks that’s ridiculous. Lobov argues that McGregor is responsible for the UFC’s success in recent years and deserves his rightful share.
“The thing is, it’s a business,” said Lobov. “They’re fighting for every percentage there because when it comes down to Conor’s fights, even one percent means millions and millions and millions. In my eyes, of course he deserves a percentage of the UFC. His last fight was two and half million and that same year there was a pay-per-view card with 80,000 PPVs sold. That speaks for itself. He is the reason why the company was sold for $4 billion so why shouldn’t he get a piece of that?
“For anybody who says, ‘Then everyone will ask for that,’ no they won’t, because you tell them, ‘Show me your numbers. Show me what you bring in.’ You get a piece of the pie that you bring in. If you arrive with a bag of peanuts, then you can’t expect to eat a steak. But if you are killing a whole deer like Conor is then of course you deserve a nice, juicy piece of steak and he should get it.”
Lobov can’t spend to much time thinking about his friend’s possible retirement though; he has his own plans brewing. This weekend, Lobov takes on Jason Knight in the main event of Bare Knuckle FC. After that, he’s got his eyes set on recent BKFC signee, Paulie Malignaggi, a man who has had a sordid history with McGregor and his fight team.
“I cannot wait to bust through Jason Knight and then finally get my hands on Paulie Malignaggi,” Lobov said. “. . . I feel he needs punishing and I’m the guy to do that.”
Doesn’t believe. Dana White doesn’t believe Conor McGregor is retired.
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The MMA Hour with Gaethje, Malignaggi, Mendez, and Emmett.
Freddie Roach talking GSP and Conor.
Volkanovski talking about his fight with Aldo.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing ONE championship and our violence king, Justin Gaethje.
Mookie & Crookie. Discussing the huge success of UFC fighters moving up in weight.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I have decided to return to professional fighting. This short retirement reinvigorated my passion to compete. I’m now faster and stronger than I have ever been. That yearning to walk into the octagon is something that I just can’t live without. #MMA #UFC #ROOSTER #comeback #title pic.twitter.com/T02W4fuB2B— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) April 1, 2019
Pulled a April fools prank on my coaches pic.twitter.com/MJcCMfYtnH— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) April 1, 2019
In light to recent events on the flyweight division and me being cut because of it . I will be calling it quits from fighting .— Jarred Brooks (@The_monkeygod) April 2, 2019
I want to thank all of the people that have led me down this path
....... April fools !
I am going to do anything to reach my goals jokes on y’all !
This is a good one. Though, he should actually do this.
Just like I did with my Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey @ProperWhiskey, I will now take over the Rosé wine business. Introducing Champ Champ Rosé @ChampChampRose, the finest Rosé in the world!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 1, 2019
This is blood that accumulated in Ken Hasegawa’s lungs after a broken rib. Amazed he’s still alive.
手術しやすい場所で開胸手術はしなくてすみました。— 長谷川賢 (Ken Hasegawa） (@kenhasegawa0226) April 1, 2019
Goldie trying to defend one of his most infamously terrible calls. Ouch.
Ok, let’s try this again, I said it takes alot of energy to be a rock star, that she was saying yes to every request and that it was her 3rd title fight in 9 months, thanks for reaching out https://t.co/tpaTS6t67f— Mike Goldberg (@GoldieOnTV) April 1, 2019
Hey, I know that guy!
Bryce Mitchell got his camo shorts.
Thanks @Reebok for letting me know y’all heard me and hookin me up.— Bryce Mitchell (@ThugnastyMMA) April 1, 2019
Ima help y’all add a little Arkansas to the design and make it look like I came straight out the woods! It’s a great start and a step in the right direction! pic.twitter.com/vO1jRzdMtD
View this post on Instagram
On my way home to my girls, I didn’t win I’m bitterly disappointed heart broken in fact but this game is cruel S.O.B I’m going to take some time to think of what I really want to do next, speak to my family my team my friends. As soon as I know what im doing u will too, thank u all for the support it really does mean a lot. I’m a fighter, fighting is all I know
One more “fighter” turned me down. UFC Top 10 is full of p*ssies.— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) April 2, 2019
I know Gus is a big dude but this is ridiculous.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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