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Author: Dylan McBennett
Conor McGregor is arguably the most exciting personality to come out of Ireland in recent years. The persona he has built up for himself is one of the most recognized in the world and also the most liked, but is his arrogance destroying the image he has built for himself?
The champ has come under fire recently for numerous altercations he has got himself into. Two of the most topical incidences involved well-respected British referee Marc Goddard. The first time the two brushed horns was at a UFC fight, McGregor was ringside for his team-mate Artem Lobovs bout against Andre Fili at UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk. The only problem was that McGregor wasn’t officially allowed to be cageside. The Notorious one wasn’t part of the cage side team that Lobov had brought to the fight. Instead, McGregor started his own cage side team, shouting orders at Lobov from afar and walking around the octagon as if it was his own. McGregor’s decision to do so annoyed Goddard, who felt his actions were interfering with the fight.
Goddard told McGregor,
Conor, what’s got into ya mate? Sit down please. Be a professional.
McGregor apologized and the fight moved forward, nothing too untoward but a sign that McGregor feels he can do anything he wants in the UFC. Maybe he can.
McGregor’s altercation with Goddard on this occasion in Gdansk for me is not where the problem lies, it’s his most recent behavior that raises serious questions about the mindset of the Irishman.
McGregor storms ring in Dublin.
The Bellator octagon is not somewhere you’d expect to see Conor McGregor, but fans of the promotion got to see exactly that on November 10th. McGregor was again in attendance for a team-mates bout. Ex-UFC fighter Charlie Ward was fighting fellow Irishman, John Redmond. Ward dropped Redmond in the dying seconds of Round one and Goddard stepped in seemingly to stop the fight. But speaking after Goddard said he stepped in due to the round being over. Goddard stepping in caused McGregor to flood the ring to celebrate with his team-mate who he believed had won. Goddard told McGregor in ring that the fight wasn’t actually over, which flipped a switch in the head of McGregor. The Irish man went to Goddard, pushing him in the process in a wild series of events inside the Bellator cage. Speaking after in a video backstage, McGregor detailed his reasoning in terms of his actions.
“It’s that same referee as well, I said it’s you ya rat. It was a beautiful shot. He’s out cold on the ground about a minute, they all knew he was out cold”.
McGregor’s decision to push Goddard may be defensible but slapping an official isn’t. He can create no excuses for this one, it doesn’t showcase arrogance, it showcases a moment of madness the Notorious one will hope the world soon forgets.
McGregor also posted this tweet, which was deleted minutes after it was put up explaining his actions.
Has McGregor gone too far?
At first, I felt that McGregor had gone way over the top with this one. Without knowing the true backstory of the reason McGregor flipped out at Goddard the first thing that came to my mind is this man is being selfish. This man is making his friends first win in a new promotion all about him. And I felt it truly showcased his arrogance. BUT, having heard the full story, it seems like the McGregor of old. The man lives by loyalty. He celebrates his team’s success like his own and always has. He jumps the ring when his teammates win and has done on many occasions during Artem Lobovs time in the UFC. He may be more arrogant than when he first started in the UFC, but that’s to be expected. He still remembers where he comes from, who he came up with and how he got there. As highlighted in the video below, McGregor jumping into the ring is everyday behavior and nothing new. But that doesn’t defend slapping an official. Again, it doesn’t showcase arrogance, just a pure moment of insanity.
Who does he fight next?
Moving away from the topic of his arrogance, the man hasn’t fought in the UFC in a year. The fight that makes sense is Tony Ferguson. Ferguson holds the interim belt after beating Kevin Lee at UFC 217, and has been asking for the fight with McGregor a long time now. Dana White has said it’s the only fight to make in regards McGregor.
“Nobody’s talked about Diaz. Diaz has never been talked about. That’s internet bullsh*t,”
“Tony’s the interim champion, Conor’s the champion, that’s the fight that makes sense. It’s the fight that has to happen, it doesn’t ‘make sense,’ it’s the fight that has to happen.
McGregor v Ferguson will indeed be a great fight. Ferguson is truly unlike anything McGregor has faced before with his awkward style. Coach Eddie Bravo believes McGregor won’t be able to break Tony mentally like he does other fighters. Speaking on the Talking Brawls podcast, Bravo said,
“He’s got the belt; it’s the interim belt but he’s got the belt. It doesn’t look Conor wants any part of Tony. It doesn’t sound like he’s interested in him at all….he’s never been interested in Tony because he knows Tony’s mind. He knows that Tony can’t be broken mentally.”
McGregor has been doubted before, and he will be doubted again. The bout was rumored to be at UFC 219, but McGregor has apparently been pulled due to his actions at Bellator 187.
If the bout isn’t at the end of this year, expect it to be early next year. It will be McGregor’s first title defense ever, and with Anderson Silva’s recent drug test failure, will the Irishman move further up the list of GOAT’S?