MMA experts outline the reasons behind Conor McGregor's standoff with UFC

Ariel Helwani and Jeremy Botter speak to Off The Ball about the events of the last 24 hours

Conor McGregor, petition, euro coin, face, UFC fighter, Oireachtas Petitions Committee

Conor McGregor at the UFC 189 World Championship Tour | Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ever since Conor McGregor suddenly tweeted that he intends to "retire young", feverish speculation has surrounded his future with the UFC.

The organisation's president Dana White reiterated tonight that the UFC featherweight champion was pulled from his UFC200 fight with Nate Diaz after turning down a requirement to take part in pre-fight promo, while also warning that the Dubliner risks having to vacate his featherweight belt. 

But what does the future now hold for McGregor and the UFC?

On tonight's Off The Ball, we were joined by MMA writers Ariel Helwani and Jeremy Botter to discuss the fallout from the past 24 hours.

Helwani believes there are many issues at play which have contributed to the unfolding events, but not money.

"I definitely think that one of the things that is at play is around 10 days ago in Ireland, there was a local show and a young fan by the name of Charlie Ward, who trains out of SBG Ireland, defeated a young Portuguese fighter named Joao Carvalho and Conor is a team-mate of Charlie's and he was cage-side supporting his friend and team-mate. As you know, a few days, tragically Carvalho passed away," said Helwani.

"This is horrendous news and Conor who was there and witnessed the fight with his own eyes took to Facebook and wrote what I thought was a very heartfelt statement and poured his heart out and it shows to the world that he was deeply affected."

As a result, McGregor may have felt that doing promo for the UFC200 fight against Diaz did not feel like the "smart or right and proper thing to do at this time".

Helwani believes that other disagreements and issues then come into play.

"From what I was told, this was strictly a discussion between Conor's management and the UFC. They tried to figure it out and it just wasn't something he was too keen on doing at this time, the media stuff this week in Las Vegas," he said.

Meanwhile Botter, who recently spoke to us about how the relationship between McGregor and the UFC as the Dubliner's star rises, agrees that witnessing Carvalho's death is "probably a pretty large part of it".

And he expects an announcement soon from McGregor and envisages that at some point in the future, he may end up promoting his own fights, although Botter does not think the time has yet come.

"I do believe that is still the future for him," he said, while Helwani explained that retirement does not make McGregor's current UFC contract null and void.

Botter also predicted that McGregor won't be involved at UFC200 but sees him fighting again this year.