You remember Conor McGregor? Mouthy little chap from Crumlin. Got the more gullible young people into the caged fighting there for a couple of years. Always shouting and swearing about something or someone’s ethnicity. What happened in Vegas unfortunately didn’t stay in Vegas. Won some belts that didn’t even exist until the previous week and then cashed in big by having that circus animals’ desertion bout against Floyd Mayweather.
You must recall the lad with the signature cackle, all expensive tattoos and cheap taunts. Sounded like he was permanently auditioning for a cameo on WWE. Started his own gut-rot whiskey, punched an auld fellah in a pub and once assaulted a bus full of fighters with a trolley. Sure, there were run-ins with the law everywhere from Dublin to Corsica to Brooklyn. Very difficult to root for, not easy to ignore, that kind of fellah.
Well, in case you’re wondering where he got to, you can find him on Twitter. Any day. Any time. Still regurgitating his well-worn shtick, spouting offensive guff, evincing Elon Musk’s desperate need for affirmation with Donald Trump’s magnetic knack for casual enmity. Like some sad sack 21st century virtual version of the washed-up prize fighter at the end of the bar, he’s there online, railing against one-time rivals and anybody who crosses his radar and dares not to kow tow. Witness the following sample of his recent literary output.
To Rafael Fiziev, the No. 6 ranked lightweight: “Think of me as Tiger Woods with a 12 iron and your nose as the golf ball. And think of me sprinting for it with a running switch kick and f*** your little bend back. You little bend back nobody b***h.”
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About Khabib Nurmagomedov, who famously defeated McGregor and sent his career spiralling in 2018: “I don’t want to fight the smellbag there are way better fights out there but let it be known the biggest wet the bed in fighting history is what this guy is.”
To Joe Rogan, podcaster and UFC commentator, “proper Twelve blow the jaw off you stick to that other gick boondock head.”
Along the way, McGregor made a fortune. We know this because, in the most Trumpian style, he boasts incessantly about his business ventures, his bling, the size of his yacht, the creaminess of his stout.
About Artem Lobov, former training partner currently suing him for a share of Proper Twelve whiskey, he posted a recording of himself singing, “Artem is a rat! Na na na na! Hey! Na na na na! Hey! Artem is a rat, na na na na! Hey! Rat!”
Aside from an aversion to punctuation and basic grammar, his puerile social media antics betray the attitude and linguistic capabilities of a teenage malcontent waging war with his peers. *Except this is a 34-year-old father of three and, unfortunately, there’s no sign of a vigilant parent knocking on the bedroom door to confiscate the phone and save the demented adolescent from his own worst instincts. Little wonder Jake Paul, the YouTuber turned pugilist who is another relentless self-publicist, was able to mock him recently.
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“Conor, Conor, Conor – you’re more active on Twitter than you are in the octagon,” said Paul. “You haven’t won a fight in five f**king years, and the last time you did was against [Donald] ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone – who hasn’t won a fight against anyone since fighting you.”
Harsh but mostly fair. Just over six years have passed since McGregor clambered on to the fence of the octagon at Madison Square Garden, the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously. Making sporting history. Albeit of the just add water variety. Soon after, he lined his pockets and embarrassed himself with the Mayweather debacle. Three defeats in his next four fights made a mockery of his tiresome claims of invincibility and his reputation took further hits via recurring appearances on police blotters that were reported more forensically in international media than in Ireland for reasons of libel law.
Along the way, McGregor made a fortune. We know this because, in the most Trumpian style, he boasts incessantly about his business ventures, his bling, the size of his yacht, the creaminess of his stout. It’s almost like he’s overcompensating with a constant stream of self-aggrandising posts. You would think a man of his immense means, a forthcoming documentary series on Netflix, an imminent acting debut in the remake of Road House, was beyond insecurity. You would be wrong. There are always new windmills to tilt at.
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The other week, Anthony Smith, a redoubtable journeyman in the sport, pointed out on a podcast that McGregor is no longer in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool for active fighters, yet still talks of coming back from the broken leg suffered against Dustin Poirier 18 months ago. A fair enough point given he is the only fighter listed as active on the UFC roster who has not been tested this year.
“The audacity of this loser!” tweeted McGregor in response. “[Anthony Smith] you’re a loser. The [per cent] of the bones joining back after a break like this is so low. You think I give a f*** about anything else. I am the most tested fighter all time in combat sport. I give everything to this game. You – Nothing!”
There followed plenty more tweets, some abusive, others about the nature of his injury and how his documentary would chronicle his comeback. Then he posted a selfie, a gaudy timepiece positioned smack in the centre of the shot. And his remaining fans, those who haven’t grown up or moved on to other shiny objects yet, probably went wild.
*Article amended on December 2nd, 2022