The Irishman is UFCs biggest earner but his recent action has been erratic and provocative. But in Dana Whites world, coin 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 intent of tackling Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was scheduled to compete for the vacant UFC lightweight entitle that weekend. McGregor, accompanied by an entourage, entered the building’s parking lot and began vandalizing a bus full of boxers before throwing a dolly through one of the windows. Several boxers were hospitalized and removed from their scheduled contests. The entire stage was captured on video, commemorating one of “the worlds largest” embarrassing instants in UFC history.
McGregor subsequently turned himself in to New York police and was tasked with assault and criminal misbehaviour( prosecutors eventually dropped the two trespass and related indictments following a request batch ).
McGregor’s activities that week had a long-lasting impact. UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa digested injuries after the dolly crushed through the window, while fellow UFC fighter Ray Borg suffered an gaze trauma from shattered glass. Both followers were hospitalized and removed from their respective combats. 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 big barriers and offer per belief figures- appeared outraged 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 pushes? Do you? I don’t think anybody is going to want to right now. I think everybody is going to be pretty outraged with Conor McGregor right now .”
The bus incident earned McGregor an important quantity of negative publicity. Nonetheless, the resentment surrounding the melee succumbed down over the coming months, particularly after McGregor reached a request agreement in July and pleaded guilty to a single breaches of disorderly conduct.
For their part, and despite White’s earlier bluster, the UFC opted not to take any action against McGregor. Instead, they have now repurposed the entire happen to further promote arguably the most difficult fightings in UFC history.
At a press conference for UFC’s 25 th anniversary in early August, White was indicated that Nurmagomedov would crusade McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The notice took place less than a few months after the Irishman struck his plea deal, and was capped off with a promotional video that used footage from the bus assault.
In fairness, Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a dream fight for UFC love, and one that numerous did not expect to happen. McGregor’s foolhardy form and preposterous persona are in stark distinguish to Nurmagomedov’s quash behavior and daunting attendance, which exclusively lends greater depth to an already compelling game. It is also a fight that is, according to White, expected to break the UFC’s previous pay-per-view account.
It should be noted that four of the UFC’s top five more profitable PPV phenomena were headlined by McGregor. In McGregor’s absence over the past two years, the UFC has failed to recreate those figures and has contended on PPV. The 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 jumped at another McGregor fight.
While Nurmagomedov-McGregor is a financial boon for the UFC, it remains a risky venture. The Irishman and his entourage had previously been justification desolation during the Barclays Center incident. A few of those men is a possibility with McGregor this time around, and owing to the fact that Nurmagomedov too treads around with a sizeable squad that has been known to intimidate and confront boxers, the lead-up to the PPV may be explosive.
McGregor has also spent the last few weeks fuelling religious and ethnic tensions. He posted word-paintings on social media with captions referencing him” chilling in Jahannam“( the Arabic word for hell)- Nurmagomedov is Muslim. He too posted a picture of one of Nurmagomedov’s civilizing spouses, Chechen fighter Zubaira Tukhugov, with the caption:” A true Chechen would never take orders from a Dagestani man .” Nurmagomedov is from Dagestan.
Given the loaded explanations McGregor has incorporated into his battle publicity, the disdain between the fighters’ crews and their respective followers will be evident come Saturday night. Harmonizing to a source close to the incident, the UFC is taking steps to ensure the appropriate levels of security are in place for the affair. While it remains unclear what this entails, it will likely include increased police attendance at the arena, that were likely restriction any clanks between fans.
Potential crusades are far from the only protection fear coping with the UFC 229 main event. During a news conference to promote the fight, McGregor attempted to play imagination plays with Nurmagomedov by referencing some of the shady attributes that have been associated with the UFC champion. One of the controversial anatomies mentioned was the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who invited Nurmagomedov to host seminars at his fighting team in 2016. McGregor has called Kadyrov a” crazy oppressor” and those statements were not well received in Chechnya, where Kadyrov governs with an iron fist. One of the fighters who represents Kadyrov’s fight club posted a video reminding McGregor that he will” answer for his statements” before expecting a public apology. This was followed by public officials explanation from the Chechen minister for press and report, who questioned McGregor’s mental health before announcing him an” outrageous clown” who acts like a” Mexican rooster .”
While the intimidation tactics issued 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 commented on McGregor or the upcoming UFC 229 affair, the statements delivered by the dictator’s mouthpieces should be enough to raise security concerns for the Irishman.
The UFC’s decision to situate McGregor in this weekend’s main event emphasizes the promotion’s willingness to relinquish punishment for profit. Perhaps more significantly their decision to push ahead with the main event despite security threats steered at McGregor and the rising tension between the Irishman and the Russian’s teams demonstrates UFC is willing to gamble on high-risk situations in order to reap its rewards.
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