Conor McGregor announces surprise retirement on Twitter

Adam Hunger / USA TODAY

Conor McGregor shockingly announced his retirement from MMA with a tweet in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

This isn't the first time McGregor has taken to Twitter to announce a surprising end to his career. In April 2016, the former two-division UFC champion tweeted "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later." That retirement proved to be short-lived, as he would fight twice in the next six months.

The 30-year-old McGregor last fought in the Octagon on Oct. 6 when he lost a lightweight title bout to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The fight was surrounded by controversy, with McGregor and members of his team attacking a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters prior to the card.

A melee then broke out following his fourth-round submission loss at UFC 229, which included Nurmagomedov leaping out of the Octagon to attack McGregor's training partner, as well as a brawl inside the cage featuring members of both fighters' teams. Both men were fined for the incident and McGregor was suspended six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his involvement, while Khabib received a nine-month ban.

McGregor was also arrested earlier this month after allegedly smashing a fan's phone outside the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. He was released on a $12,500 bond and is also facing a lawsuit in connection with the incident.

Prior to his Twitter announcement, McGregor appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" on Monday night and didn't indicate any plans to retire at the time. In fact, McGregor made comments about a potential upcoming fight.

"We're in talks for July," McGregor said, as relayed by ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "We'll see what happens, a lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game. But like I said, to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready.

"I have done my piece for the company. I don't necessarily need to fight. I am set for life. My family is set for life. We are good, but I am eager to fight. So, we'll see what happens. I'm staying ready."

UFC president Dana White echoed McGregor's sentiments that he no longer needs to fight from a financial perspective and appeared to indicate he's taking McGregor at his word, believing the retirement is legitimate.

"He has the money to retire, and his (Proper 12) whiskey is KILLIN it," White told Okamoto via text message. "It totally makes sense. If I was him, I would retire too. He's retiring from fighting. Not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy, and I'm sure he has other things he's working on.

"He has been so fun to watch!!! He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him, and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the Octagon as he was in it."

If this is indeed the end of McGregor's MMA career, he retires as both a former UFC lightweight champion and former UFC featherweight champion with a record of 21-4.

Conor McGregor announces surprise retirement on Twitter
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