Conor skips out on training in Iceland as his bitter battle with UFC heats up

Conor McGregor with fans in Iceland
Conor McGregor with fans in Iceland

Conor McGregor took a second day off from training yesterday from the Icelandic gym where he had been training hard – showing his cancelled fight with Nate Diaz is no publicity stunt.

The fighting octagon at the Mjolnir gym was a play-pen for kids yesterday as local martial arts clubs competed in a ju-jitsu tournament.

But McGregor was nowhere to be seen when the Sunday World visited the gym.

McGregor took an official rest day on Friday which took him ski-sledding with coach John Kavanagh and fellow MMA fighters.

But he followed it up with another day off after Dana White confirmed that the Crumlin native had been cut from a planned fight card in July.

McGregor has been spotted around Reykjavik in a relaxed mood and happy to pose for photos.

Yesterday, the owner of the impressive Mjolnir gym Haraldun Nelson told the Sunday World that despite the social media storm it had been a fantastic week.

“It was amazing, we had a great camp,” he said.

McGregor with fans

He laughed off the drama of the week as “a lot of fun.”

“All the big media contacted us but Conor didn’t walk to talk to anyone,” he added.

“Conor surprised everyone, everyone knows that. But I can understand where he’s coming from. It’s been great having him here.”

“He’s been here before a number of times. We’ve been friends along time,” he added.

The attraction for McGregor is obvious at the top class facilities in the centre of Reykjavik.

“This is by far the biggest MMA gym in Iceland and the only one with any fighters. The growth has been enormous,” explained Gunnar.

McGregor kept his cool in Iceland this week while he sent social media into meltdown in his row with UFC boss White.

The pair have been locked in a spat over the amount of time the Irish fighter has to spend at promotional events in the United States.

A tweet about retirement sparked an avalanche of reaction on the internet, but McGregor later cleared that up with a long statement later in the week.

Training at the Mjolnir gym in Reykjavik, he also took time out to enjoy the tourist attractions on the island.

“This is by far the biggest MMA gym in Iceland and the only one with any fighters. The growth has been enormous"

Mixed martial arts fans waited to see if he would turn up at the UFC 200 press conference in Las Vegas on Friday night.

But with both sides deadlocked, McGregor and coach John Kavanagh instead took time out to ride snow mobiles on frozen glaciers.

Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson, whose father owns the Mjolnir gym, tweeted a picture of them, posting: “Active rest day.”

Another photo saw McGregor pose with Kavanagh and Irish fighter Peter Queally with the caption: “We own the night!

During his stay in Iceland, the Crumlin native stopped for selfies with fans.

In one shot posted on social media, he’s standing in Reykjavik with the imposing Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral in the background, taunting the UFC chief: “I’ve got my bills paid. My money made. And the entire game slayed. #YourMove.”

Not long after the Las Vegas press conference went ahead, McGregor added another tweet aimed at White.

“Everyone flew in. Respect. But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months,” he said.

White reacted to McGregor’s refusal to fly to the U.S. by cutting his rematch against Nate Diaz, due to go head in July.

The fighting octagon at the Mjolnir gym was a play-pen for kids

Coach Kavanagh also added his view of the press conference proceedings with another tweet: “But it feels so empty without me.”

Yesterday White confirmed that McGregor’s failure to take part means the fight with Diaz won’t be going ahead on July 9. White is refusing to back down in the row and is looking for a new contest for the main event.

“It’s an unpopular decision, but it’s the right decision,” White said.

Fans breathed a sigh of relief last Thursday when McGregor broke his 48-hour silence to explain that he hasn’t retired from mixed martial arts.

“I am just trying to do my job and fight here. I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote,” he wrote.

“I asked for some leeway where I can just train and focus. I did not shut down all media requests. I simply wanted a slight adjustment. But it was denied.

During the week, White went on TV to say that he was still ready to have McGregor fight at the UFC 200 in July.

“If Conor was to call me today then we’ll possibly do it,” he said.

McGregor’s decision means he will miss out on a €10 million payout.