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UFC's Conor McGregor retires for third time, 'not excited' about MMA

In an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani, former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor said the reason for his third retirement is that he's not excited about the sport or prospects for any upcoming fights.

He said he watched UFC last weekend and Saturday's pay-per-view and is "just not excited about the game. I don't know if it's no crowd. I don't know what it is. There's just no buzz for me."

The 31-year-old said he's gone through opponent options and "there's nothing really there at the minute" while not giving any of the names of those options. He also expressed frustration that he and Justin Gaethje should be fighting for the interim lightweight title and not the unification bout that is planned between Gaethje and current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

"They want to throw me up and down weights and offer me stupid fights. I don't really give a f**k. I'm over it," he said.

McGregor also told Helwani he had written a draft of the retirement tweet he sent out after Saturday's show two weeks ago. He tweeted a picture of a retirement cake from his family Sunday.

When asked about the retirement after Saturday's UFC 250 pay-per-view, UFC president Dana White somewhat dismissed it, saying everyone is going crazy with the world situation right now and that no one has to fight if they don't want to. White has had to deal with a lot of fighter unrest of late from some of his top-drawing talents including light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, and now McGregor.

As noted, this is the third time the Irish star has retired via social media since 2016 only to return every time. The first instance was March of that year when he refused to travel for a press conference to promote his rematch against Nate Diaz, leading to the fight being canceled. He eventually returned that year to fight and beat Diaz. He also retired in April 2019 but came back in January 2020 to fight and defeat Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.

Since November 2016 when he defeated Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, McGregor has only fought twice in the Octagon, losing to Nurmagomedov and beating Cerrone. He also boxed and lost to Floyd Mayweather.