LOS ANGELES – Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor hinted he may not be retiring after all on Wednesday, after a racially-charged exchange of insults with rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In a cryptic post on Twitter which came a week after he had vowed to hang up his gloves, the trash-talking Irishman indicated he was not done with fighting.
“I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds,” McGregor wrote.
“All faiths challenge us to be our best selves. It is one world and one for all. Now see you in the Octagon.”
I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds.
All faiths challenge us to be our best selves.
It is one world and one for all ❤️
Now see you in the Octagon.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 4, 2019
McGregor’s tweet appeared to be a response to criticism directed towards him, after an earlier post in which he insulted Nurmagomedov’s wife and the couple’s Muslim faith.
McGregor swiftly deleted the post made late on Tuesday.
Nurmagomedov, however, reacted furiously to the insult, raising reported sexual assault allegations which McGregor faces in Ireland, according to the New York Times.
“You are a hypocrite who is not responsible for your actions,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “Justice will find you. We will see.”
Rapist, you are Rapist.
You are a hypocrite who is not responsible for your actions. Justice will find you.
We will see.@TheNotoriousMMA pic.twitter.com/317rLK5TVN
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) April 3, 2019
The vitriolic exchange prompted an intervention from UFC chief Dana White, who urged both camps to dial back their rhetoric.
“I am aware of the recent social media exchange between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor,” White said in a statement.
Don’t be scared of the rematch you little scurrying rat.
You will do what you are told like you always do.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 3, 2019
“The ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is unacceptable. As such, we are taking the necessary steps to reach out to both athlete camps, and this situation is being addressed by all parties internally.”
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor in a bout last October in Las Vegas in a contest that was marred by a massive brawl at ringside.
In January, the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed McGregor a six-month suspension for his role in the post-fight melee, backdated to October.