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Conor McGregor: 'It's not nice to see a kid die like that - it's f**ked up to be a part of it'

The UFC star says the death of Joao Carvalho at an event in Dublin fueled his reluctance to publicise his proposed rematch with Nate Diaz.

Image: John Locher/AP/Press Association Images

CONOR MCGREGOR HAS said the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho at an event in Dublin in April factored into his reluctance to go on a UFC publicity tour – a decision that subsequently led to him being pulled from a proposed, high-profile rematch with Nate Diaz this summer.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN, McGregor admitted to having been affected by the tragedy to such an extent that he wanted to pull back from the sport in the immediate aftermath.

“I had fucking journalists knocking down my mother’s door, you know what I mean?” he told Kenny Mayne.

That’s not what I signed up to do — have people knocking on my mother’s door, talking about a kid dying. It’s not nice to see a kid die like that. It does something to you. And there’s been show after show canceled in Ireland since that. It’s fucked up to be a part of it and I didn’t want to bring it back up and put it more on a public scale.

After all that, I did not want to be put in front of a camera and made to dance. I just wasn’t feeling it.”

The Dubliner discussed his stand-off with the UFC in great detail during the interview, referring to it as a ‘publicised civil war’ but added that a Friday meeting with organisation president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was ‘a good conversation, like it always it – we have a good relationship’.

I was going through some things, there was some crazy stuff going on back home. I wanted to be focused on my training. I was in a time where I was figuring out something. I didn’t say no to everything. I wanted to do reasonable media. Then, all of a sudden, it’s ‘Hey, Conor. It’s three months from the fight. We’ve got to drag you on 40-hour flights to come and do a runaround – New York, Vegas, California.’ 70 press conferences, 70 talk shows, adverts, all of this. I was like, ‘I only made you $400m last week – I need to get right’.

I just wanted to focus and I was deep in the process. Particularly at that moment, I wanted a little bit more time. I needed another little bit to set myself. Then they were trying to push back on me, I was trying to push back on them. It blew up then.”

When his employers called his bluff and pulled him from UFC 200 for failing to adhere to media obligations, McGregor admits to having had pangs of regret over his decision to dig his heels in.

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“There were times [I thought], ‘I should have just jumped on the damn flight [and done the publicity tour].’ But sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right for you and not what’s right for everybody else, especially if you’ve done what’s right for everyone else a million times over.”

McGregor remained coy on what his next move will be.

“I’m committed to the fight game”, he said.

“I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it.”

And the possibilities of a fight with Floyd Mayweather?

“I hear the boy talking. It was him that leaked the rumor and it said he gets $100m and I get $7m – that’s a pay cut to me. I don’t take pay cuts. The $7m is absolutely laughable. He’s talking $100m – I’m also talking $100m.  He needs me, I don’t need him.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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