Conor McGregor has been stripped of his Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title, according to UFC president Dana White.
The long-expected announcement was made by White at a press conference ahead of this weekend's UFC 223 card at Barclays Center.
McGregor hasn't fought for the UFC ever since he won the 155lb title back in November 2016.
He last competed in a boxing match in August last year, when he went up against Floyd Mayweather Jr - which ended in defeat.
Despite previously refusing to strip McGregor of his UFC lightweight title, White has confirmed that this has now changed - adding that he expects McGregor to be back in action at some point this year, though when exactly was not specified.
"Conor McGregor is 100 percent coming back this year," White said.
White explained that he did not think McGregor would be attending Saturday's UFC223 fight, adding: "It would be awesome if Conor came. This is a fight that is obviously very important to him and his future.
"It would be awesome if Conor was here, but no, I don't think he has any plans to be here."
The main event sees Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway compete for the lightweight championship.
Originally, Nurmagomedov was scheduled to be fighting Tony Ferguson - who had been the holder of the 145lb featherweight belt, but had moved up to the 155lb division as an interim champion in McGregor's absence.
"We're not stripping Tony Ferguson," White said, reiterating: "Tony Ferguson isn't being stripped, the only one that's losing a belt here is Conor.
"Conor is losing the belt. These two are fighting for the belt.
"The interim these two were supposed to fight for, fight doesn't happen, now one of these guys will be the champion. Tony is still the number one contender."
Once the fight begins, McGregor will no longer be the champ, and the interim belt will also go away. This means that whoever wins will become the true 155lb champion.
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov had previously been booked in to fight each other a total of four times, but each had fallen through.
White insisted that he was reluctant to book them for a fifth time.
He added: "It's the last fight on earth that I want to make again. This will be five times - that's insane - but obviously, however this thing plays out on Saturday, we'll go from there.
"Tony is still the number one ranked guy in the world either way no matter who wins, so believe me I'll deal with that when it's time to deal with it," he said.
Featured Image Credit: PA
- Floyd Mayweather confirms he will fight Conor McGregor again next year
- Video Shows Conor McGregor Apologising To Dana White After Mayweather Defeat
- Dana White Reveals How McGregor Really Felt About His Defeat To Mayweather
- Eddie Hall joins Conor McGregor in shaving off beard and it takes some adjusting