LOS ANGELES: Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor stunned the sport on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) after appearing to announce his retirement at the age of 27.
The UFC featherweight icon — one of the most high profile stars of the combat sport — had been scheduled to face Nate Diaz in a rematch in Las Vegas on July 9.
Diaz demolished the outspoken Irishman when the two met earlier this year.
However, in a post on Twitter that was widely interpreted as a retirement announcement, McGregor signaled he was quitting.
“I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later,” McGregor wrote.
UFC president Dana White later confirmed McGregor would no longer be feature on the card for UFC 200 in July.
“Conor didn’t want to come to Las Vegas and be part of any promotional training,” White said on ESPN.
“He’s in Iceland training. He felt leaving right now would hurt his training. But every other fighter on the card is coming.”
White was uncertain on whether McGregor had in fact retired. “Only he can answer that question,” he replied.
Diaz meanwhile responded with his own lighthearted retirement. “I guess my work here is done I’m retiring too,” the fighter wrote.
McGregor’s tweet comes after he attended an April 9 bout in which fighter Joao Carvalho suffered fatal injuries.
“To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking,” McGregor wrote on Facebook after Carvalho’s death last week.