When Conor McGregor first burst on the scene, many Irish people, especially those who followed the UFC and other mixed martial arts closely were very excited. To listen to a young Dubliner promise to take over the UFC was like music to many people’s ears. Irish people felt they had a working-class hero in their midst. McGregor managed to stick to his word, and became the UFC featherweight champion in 2015 and also a 2 division champion shortly after when he won the lightweight title.
However, not all the Irish are McGregor fanatics. He caused a lot of controversy outside of the octagon that raised plenty of eyebrows, especially amongst his fellow countrymen. Others in Ireland were not a fan of his foul mouth and antics leading up to fights. Nowadays, Ireland seems to be split, there are those who love the “Notorious”, and those who want nothing more than to see him lose every time he is involved in a fight.
Most Irish People are Modest
It’s incredible to think that a country with such a small population has produced so many incredible athletes. Footballers like Roy Keane, Dennis Irwin, and Robbie Keane all come from Ireland. One of the world’s biggest and best female fighters, Katie Taylor, also comes from the Republic of Ireland. Although all of these sportspeople have won plenty of awards, yet they are all modest individuals. Although Taylor is arguably the greatest female boxer on the planet, if you listen to her interviews you would not get that impression. She is relaxed and constantly compliments her opponents, leading up to the fight and after the fight. When Roy Keane or Dennis Irwin won a trophy, the only thing they would speak about in an interview is the next competition they aim to win. They rarely dwelled in the past, which is one of the reasons they were so consistent throughout their careers.
This is why a lot of Irish people find it strange listening to an athlete tell the world how great they are, especially one of their own. Of course, McGregor likes to cause controversy and tell people how great he is to help promote his fights and himself, it’s not something the Irish are used to.
The Incident in the Bar in Dublin
In April 2019, McGregor and his entourage went into a bar in Dublin city. As McGregor poured free shots of his whiskey brand into the glasses of the bar’s clientele, one man refused. The UFC champion was not too pleased with the gentleman, so he decided to sucker punch the elderly individual. Sometime later, CCTV footage emerged of the incident and it was uploaded to streaming sites for the world to see.
This hurt a lot of Irish people, especially those who supported the fighter. Many of them thought the images were an absolute disgrace. They were left wondering how a trained fighter could punch a defenseless old man, enjoying a drink by himself on a Sunday afternoon. The victim spoke with the media about the incident, and claimed that the fighter was “a bully with money”.
A lot of Irish people don’t like the stereotype that they are all drunks who enjoy fighting in bars, but McGregor made sure that the stereotype remained intact. The situation could have ended a lot differently, as it put the employees working at the time in the public house and the other customers in danger. If the victim wasn’t so calm after taking the punch, anything could have happened.
McGregor: A Missed Opportunity?
Throughout Ireland, and the world, young people look up to McGregor. From a failed plumber to become the UFC champion of the world, it is an incredible story, and many underprivileged children idolize the athlete.
As we all know younger people are extremely impressionable, and many of them copy the way McGregor walks into the ring, the way he fights, and unfortunately, the way he talks. It’s not McGregors fault that so many children think the world of him, but many feel that he could make a lot better choices and that he should keep in mind that these kids want to follow in his footsteps.
No parent wants their children to start smashing up busses, using foul language every time they talk, or sucker punching elderly men in bars. They feel that McGregor had so much going for him, but because of money and fame, he wasted it all.
Being Involved in Boxing
Boxing is a big part of Irish culture, and many were unhappy that McGregor, a mixed martial arts expert, was able to fight one of the greatest boxers of all time, without partaking in a single professional boxing fight. Very few could have blamed McGregor due to the amount of money that was at stake, but many felt that it was embarrassing for the sport in general. People have worked extremely hard all their lives in the sport, and just because a person is a big name in a completely different sport they should have to work their way up through boxing, just like every other boxer did.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the bout, and a lot of people gave McGregor support for stepping out of his comfort zone. Although McGregor did a lot better than many of the experts predicted, fatigue got the better of him, and he was forced to throw in the towel in the 10th round.
Conor McGregor, whether people love him or hate him, is a global superstar, and he will continue to generate money for his sponsorships, the UFC and online betting sites like this online kaszinó. He is a household name throughout the world, and although it seems like he is coming to the end of his career, he will not be forgotten anytime soon.
When Irish people speak with foreigners about sports, almost the first name people mention is Conor “The Notorious” McGregor, and that is not going to change in the near future. When his career is done and dusted, it’s hard to imagine McGregor not being involved in the UFC or a similar franchise. At the end of the day, he is an incredible marketing tool that businesses would love to team up with.
(Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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