The Irishman is UFCs biggest earner but his recent practice has been erratic and provoking. But in Dana Whites world, fund is king
On a chilly Thursday afternoon in April, Conor McGregor stormed into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and proceeded to wreak havoc. The Irishman sidled into the building with the intention of tackling Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was scheduled to compete for the abandoned UFC lightweight claim that weekend. McGregor, accompanied by an suite, entered the building’s parking lot and began vandalizing a bus full of fighters before hurling a dolly through one of the windows. Several fighters were hospitalized and removed from their scheduled bouts. The entire scene was captured on video, immortalizing one of “the worlds largest” flustering minutes in UFC history.
McGregor afterwards turned himself in to New York police and is tasked with assault and criminal mischief( prosecutors eventually dropped the two transgressions and related accusations following a request slew ).
McGregor’s actions that week had a persistent impact. UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa suffered tears after the dolly smashed through the window, while fellow UFC fighter Ray Borg suffered an gaze trauma from shattered glass. Both humankinds were hospitalized and removed from their respective contends. Others, including UFC straw-weight champion Rose Namajunas, were left shaken by the experience. Even UFC president Dana White- who knows the Irishman hauls in large-scale doors and pay per judgment counts- showed disgusted by McGregor’s actions.
” Do you want to be in business with Conor McGregor right now ?” White said during an impromptu media scrum following the incident.” Do you want to chase this guy around for interviews and buy his combats? Do you? I don’t think anybody is going to want to right now. I think everybody is going to be quite disgusted with Conor McGregor right now .”
The bus incident payed McGregor a significant amount of negative publicity. However, the outrage bordering the melee died down over the next month, especially after McGregor reached a request agreement in July and pleaded guilty to a single violation of disorderly conduct.
For their area, and despite White’s earlier bluster, the UFC has chosen not to take any action against McGregor. Instead, they have now repurposed the entire happen to help promote arguably the biggest campaigns in UFC history.
At a press conference for UFC’s 25 th anniversary in early August, White announced that Nurmagomedov would push McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The edict has just taken place less than a month after the Irishman impressed his request deal, and was capped off with a promotional video that used footage from the bus onrush.
In fairness, Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a dream fight for UFC devotees, and one that numerous did not expect to happen. McGregor’s insolent style and outlandish persona are in striking compare to Nurmagomedov’s quash behavior and daunting spirit, which merely includes more depth to an already compelling tournament. It is also a fight that is, according to White, expected to break the UFC’s previous pay-per-view record.
It is important to emphasise that four of the UFC’s top five more profitable PPV occurrences were headlined by McGregor. In McGregor’s absence over the past two years, the UFC has failed to recreate those figures and has struggled on PPV. The only exception was UFC 207, which boasted the return of Ronda Rousey, who has since left for WWE. Given these figures, it is clear why UFC climbed at another McGregor fight.
While Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a fiscal boon for the UFC, it remains a risky venture. The Irishman and his entourage had now been made havoc during the Barclays Center incident. A few of those men represented here with McGregor this time around, and bearing in mind the fact that Nurmagomedov too marches around with a sizeable unit that has been known to intimidate and confront soldiers, the lead-up to the PPV may be explosive.
McGregor has also wasted the last few weeks rekindling religious and ethnic frictions. He posted word-paintings on social media with captions referencing him” chilling in Jahannam“( the Arabic word for blaze)- Nurmagomedov is Muslim. He also posted a picture of one of Nurmagomedov’s qualifying marriages, Chechen fighter Zubaira Tukhugov, with the caption:” A true-blue Chechen would never take orders from a Dagestani guy .” Nurmagomedov is from Dagestan.
Given the loaded accounts McGregor has incorporated into his fighting publicity, the dislike between the fighters’ units and their respective love will be palpable come Saturday night. According to a source close to the incident, the UFC is taking steps to ensure the appropriate levels of security is still in place for the incident. While it remains unclear what this involves, it are most likely include increased police spirit at the realm, which could potentially limit any crashes between fans.
Potential pushes are far away from the only defence concern facing the UFC 229 main event. During a press conference to promote the fight, McGregor attempted to play knowledge games with Nurmagomedov by referencing some of the shady attributes that have been associated with the UFC champion. One of the controversial chassis mentioned was the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who invited Nurmagomedov to host seminars at his crusade golf-club in 2016. McGregor has called Kadyrov a” crazy authoritarian” and those remarks were not well received in Chechnya, where Kadyrov patterns with an iron fist. One of the fighters who represents Kadyrov’s fight club posted a video telling McGregor that he will” answer for his messages” before necessitating a public apology. This was followed by government officials word from the Chechen minister for press and information, who questioned McGregor’s mental health before calling him an” outrageous clown” who acts like a” Mexican rooster .”
While the bullying tactics used by Kadyrov and his bodyguards have been well-documented over the years, few expected him to target one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet. Though Kadyrov has not personally provided comments on McGregor or the upcoming UFC 229 event, the statements emitted by the dictator’s representatives should be enough to raise security concerns for the Irishman.
The UFC’s decision to neighbourhood McGregor in this weekend’s main event underlines the promotion’s willingness to forfeit punishment for profit. Perhaps more significantly their decision to push ahead with the main event despite security threats led at McGregor and the rising strain between the Irishman and the Russian’s teams evidences UFC is willing to gamble on high-risk situations in order to reap its rewards.
Read more: www.theguardian.com