Mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor is being investigated by Irish police over a claim of sexual assault, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Early Tuesday morning, McGregor announced on Twitter that he was retiring from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which has made him one of the world's highest-paid athletes. Forbes estimates he earned $99 million last year.

"I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition," he tweeted. "I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!"

McGregor hasn't been charged with a crime. In January, he was arrested, questioned about the claim and released, the Times said. An investigation is continuing. (In Ireland and much of Europe, a formal criminal charge does not necessarily follow an arrest.)

 

The woman making the assault allegation said it happened at the Beacon Hotel, which sits on the outskirts of Dublin. McGregor has been a repeated guest at the hotel, usually booking its penthouse room, the Times reported. He last visited in December.

Ireland's police service would not confirm that McGregor was a suspect, the Times said.

On Tuesday afternoon, McGregor’s spokesperson, Karen Kessler, issued a statement denying that McGregor's retirement was related to the Times report. “This story has been circulating for some time and it is unclear why it is being reported now," she said. "The assumption that the Conor retirement announcement today is related to this rumor is absolutely false. Should Conor fight in the future it must be in an environment where fighters are respected for their value, their skill, their hard work and their dedication to the sport."

Irish news media have been reporting on the case since late last year, without naming McGregor. Ireland's laws don't allow rape suspects to be publicly named unless they have been convicted.

Volatile and colorful, McGregor is one of the faces most closely associated with mixed martial arts, even though he has fought only once since 2016. He lost that October 2018 match to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

In recent years, McGregor has repeatedly attracted headlines for violent incidents outside the ring. Last July, McGregor pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge after he threw a hand truck at a bus window outside Barclays Center after a UFC promo event; two fighters suffered facial injuries from broken glass. In January, the Nevada Athletic Commission suspended him from fighting for six months and fined him $50,000 after a fight broke out following his match with Nurmagomedov. He has an Apr. 10 court date in Miami on charges of strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief; he allegedly smashed a man's cellphone at a nightclub earlier this month.

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