UFC betting markets have been thrown into disarray following the Conor McGregor’s shock retirement announcement over Twitter on Wednesday morning.
But, at just 27 years of age with up to 10 years of professional fighting still ahead of him, Sportsbet.com.au is not taking the announcement too seriously, offering just $1.03 on the former champ to make a return to the octagon.
McGregor is paying $15 with the bookmaker to stay true to his Tweet and leave the sport forever.
The man they call ‘The Notorious One’ tweeted early on Wednesday morning that he had ‘decided to retire young’ prompting Sportsbet to open a number of novelty markets on the Featherweight champion.
Punters who believe that McGregor will follow former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar into the world of professional wrestling can get $11, while those who believe he will return to the Emerald Isle to start a humble potato farm can get a healthy $501 return on their investment.
The most likely next step in the eyes of Sportsbet is for the Irishman to pen a biography, which returns $5, while taking the Tony Robbins route of motivational speaking is the next best option at $7.50.
McGregor’s return to the UFC seems uncertain at best, but he is still more likely to fight in the octagon before spin king Shane Warne rejoins the Australian test 11.
McGregor is at $1.35 to fight in the UFC before Warney takes to the field donning the baggy green again, which is at $3.00.
Even with the odds of an octagon return significantly shorter than that of a certain bleach-blonded narcissist, it seems like some amiable water is still to pass under the bridge between McGregor and the UFC before a comeback can be considered.
UFC President Dana White took to ESPN’s Sportscenter only hours after the infamous tweet to announce that his company’s biggest star had been pulled from UFC 200.
The decision was reportedly made after McGregor refused to take part in promotional activities, including a commercial photo shoot and any press conferences leading up to the July 9 bout.
“Conor didn’t want to come to Las Vegas and be part of any promotional [work],” White said.
“He felt leaving right now would hurt his training. But every other fighter on the card is coming. It doesn’t make you exempt.
“Obviously we still have a good relationship with Conor. I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person. But you can’t decide not to show up to these things. You have to do it.”
When asked directly about McGregor’s current status as a UFC fighter, White stated that only one man can truly answer that question.
“Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he can answer that question,” White said.
“I don’t know, but he’s not fighting at UFC 200.”
Whilst many are calling this a cynical publicity stunt, respected MMA journalist Ariel Helwani believes McGregor is struggling to come to terms with the unexpected death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho.
Conor McGregor was at ringside for the bout, which saw his teammate Charlie Ward knock out Carvalho, who later became violently ill and died in hospital.
Helwani believes the impact of seeing that first hand cannot be understated.
“Based on the discussions I’ve had, and knowing Conor like I do, the idea of going to Las Vegas and promoting a fight and just pretending that all is well in the fight game after witnessing something like that firsthand, is a tough thing for a young man to swallow,” Helwani said.
“I believe that’s perhaps one of the reasons why he wasn’t willing to go to Las Vegas to promote this event … I think that’s part of the picture from Conor’s end.”
The news of the death has made waves in Ireland; something which Helwani believes has made a profound impression on McGregor.
“We’re not in Ireland. Go look at the national papers, radio TV broadcasters in Ireland — they were all talking about this tragic death. This was a very big deal in Ireland and still is a big deal in Ireland … This hit them very hard.”
Conor McGregor betting markets
All odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Will McGregor fight again in UFC?
No – $15
Yes – $1.03
What next for Conor McGregor?
Write a biography – $5.00
Motivational Speaker – $7.50
Feature in WWE – $11
Politician – $34
Boxing match with Floyd Mayweather – $51
MMA match with Floyd Mayweather – $101
Ronan Keating’s bouncer – $101
Tattoo artist – $151
River Dancer – $251
Brewer at the Guiness Factory – $251
Potato Farmer – $501
UN Secretary General – $501
Pays on the next thing that McGregor announces as part of his retirement. Bets void if he announces that he will fight again in the next year
Who will come out of retirement sooner?
Conor McGregor to UFC – $1.35
Shane Watson to test cricket – $3.00