Overnight, Conor McGregor was arrested for strong armed robbery and misdemeanour criminal damage after taking a fans phone and destroying it in Florida.
I’m not entirely sure how many times I’ve attempted to defend Conor McGregor to family and friends when he first made a splash into the UFC.
This brash and cocky young fighter with skills to back everything up was a real breath of fresh air to the UFC which, at the time was in danger of becoming stagnant.
“He’s just selling a fight. He knows exactly what he’s doing in order for people to tune in and buy pay-per-views” was a favourite defence of his and to be fair, whether you like or him love him, he earned some serious PPV points and there’s a reason why he’s been involved in the company’s biggest selling events of all time.
This trash talking Dubliner was always going to be music to the ears of WME-IMG, an entertainment company who bought the UFC for $4 billion.
And why wouldn’t it have been? A guy who can sell fights like no other is always going to scream “cha-ching” for investors looking to claw back their money and attempt to make a serious profit on their investment.
For McGregor, his talking and skills saw him in some of the biggest fights we’ve ever seen and somehow he ended up in a ring with Floyd Mayweather that saw him earn a cool $100 million for his efforts.
Since then it’s been a downward curve for McGregor and the former two weight world champion hasn’t covered himself in glory between bum rushing a cage in Dublin, a spate of unsubstantiated rumours and the bus incident in New York involving current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Just on that incident where Conor McGregor and his cohorts flew into New York to attack a bus in retaliation to an incident involving McGregor’s team mate Artem Lobov, this is the time when the UFC should have took a more serious stance on his actions.
Instead, the promotion decided to use the footage as a promotional tool for Conor’s eventual fight with Nurmagomedov last October, a fight he lost by way of submission and thus sparked a huge post fight brawl in the aftermath.
Here’s the thing, I defended Conor McGregor to the hilt but I know exactly when the line between selling fights and criminality lie and he has overstepped the mark big time on several occasions.
The problem here is that the UFC actively promote his actions and there seems to be a level of invulnerability around Conor McGregor and no matter what he does, he won’t be punished for it.
The authorities did absolutely nothing in relation to his bus attack in New York and so can you really be surprised about his latest actions in taking a phone from a fan attempting to take a picture of him and he ends up smashing his phone?
If you’ve ever watched the “Notorious” documentary, it’s a solid insight into the hunger and drive that McGregor has. Brash, yes but humble in everything he did and his interaction with fans was nothing but awe inspiring.
It’s a far cry now since that documentary was released and it’s just one bad decision after another.
There is absolutely no denying that Conor McGregor is a gifted athlete and may very well be one of the best we’ve ever seen in the UFC or any MMA promotion for that matter but his misdemeanours will always be there and until he’s properly punished, nothing will change.
The UFC are McGregor’s current employers but they need to decide what’s more important to them, a quick pay day or credibility in the long run.
There’s no doubt that the UFC see the Irishman as their biggest draw but they are glorifying his out of competition actions in a way that is crass and disgusting. Does it work? Unfortunately yes.
The image of the UFC especially in Ireland by the mainstream media is portrayed negatively and has done since McGregor’s notoriety came to light.
Dana White can spill all the hyperbole about Conor’s actions all he wants but until they decide to pull the plug on him, it’s just screaming into a space.
As much as I have enjoyed watching Conor McGregor fight, his crimes outside of the Octagon are indefensible. I will always fight the corner of MMA as a sport but to defend McGregor after his latest batch of incidents is not within my morals.