Conor McGregor: An Uncomfortable & Sad Week Ends Without Dignity
In the immediate aftermath of suffering the first two-fight skid of his career, Conor McGregor was anything but humbled. As he was being interviewed by Joe Rogan, unable to stand because of the latest leg break to hit the UFC. McGregor let rip without the dignity the moment required:
“I was boxing the bleeding head off him, kicking the bleeding leg off him,” McGregor, the master of manipulation when it comes to analysing his defeats. Not for the first time in recent years he was way off with his assessment. In many ways, his reality isn’t reality as we know it.
He could recite the early period of the fight where he was having success. But he forgot to mention the extended period of time he was trapped against the cage and getting smashed repeatedly by Poirier. The ending might have been premature and unfortunate, but the conclusive finish wasn’t that far away.
McGregor will retell his version of the fight over and over, remembering the few and forgetting the plenty. The horrific leg injury might just extend his career at the top level a little bit longer. The truth is, it is already over.
The former two-weight UFC was surely heading for a second consecutive defeat at the hands of Poirier. Other than in his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor always wins the first round. Against Poirier, he couldn’t even manage that.
The whole week reeked of McGregor trying to recapture what he once was. Desperately seeking what made him the phenom that ripped through the sport in that glorious first run. The trash talk was back, yet again crossing a line it didn’t need to. At times it was nasty and uncomfortable, at best, it was tired and a sad reminder of a peak McGregor. The same old act brought out of the closet like a WWE star looking for a persona that once got him over.
Poirier’s wife, the recipient of some of the McGregor venom, reacted at the fights conclusion. The middle finger an understandable reaction. There is no excuse for much of what we heard this past week.
A fighter in his prime, shouldn’t need to look this hard for answers, it should come naturally. This version of McGregor looked like one of desperation. Even when the fight was over, when it was time for respect, McGregor continued the classless verbal tirade. Poirier deserved better, a genuinely decent person, a true blue-collar fighter who has earned everything that has come his way. McGregor of all people should appreciate that at least. The famous line in 2016, when he was at the height of his powers when he said he will not apologise to anybody, tells us that McGregor is unlikely to start now, but Poirier would be a good place to show a little bit of humility. I won’t hold my breath.
It’s a long way removed from what saw in January, the mutual appreciation society, showed a different side of McGregor, a far more likeable one. The recent version is a distinctly unlikeable one. The old act did at times have a certain charm to it, it was new, and he delivered on his words. Now what charm there was is no more and the deliverance in the cage is a thing of the past. One win in four fights since 2016 is a damming statistic and shows just how far the once shooting star has fallen.
The road to recovery will be a long one, but the manner of the defeat to Poirier at UFC 264 will see him propelled into a fourth fight with Poirier on his return from injury. It would be nice if McGregor would be forced to earn such an opportunity especially if Poirier goes on to finally become a fully-fledged UFC champion. But finding a top ranked opponent McGregor could beat might be difficult.
McGregor is by far the biggest star the sport has ever seen, and almost certainly his drawing power will never be replicated. Being carried out on a stretcher will hit McGregor hard and guarantees he will be back. He won’t want to leave the sport like that. With the money he generates the show will go on.
Karma has hit home, and McGregor should listen and learn, and instead of looking for what has now gone forever, he should go and find the real Conor McGregor. An honest critique in the mirror is always a decent place to start. Self-reflection really helps. He is now a pale imitation of the star he used to be. Honesty begins at home.
If what we have seen in the past week is indeed the real McGregor, the fall from grace inside and even outside of the cage will not stop anytime soon. Even McGregor can only push things so far. Or so we hope.
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