Last Saturday night (Early Sunday morning in Ireland), Conor McGregor made history in Madison Square Garden. McGregor became the first person in the history of the UFC (The world’s biggest MMA organization) by becoming the first person to hold world titles in two different weight classes simultaneously. He did this with a very impressive second-round KO of Eddie Alvarez in a fight that Conor dominated from the get-go. Not only did he achieve this, he also broke several major UFC records as well as setting a new gate record for Madison Square Garden with $17.7 million in ticket sales!
Conor McGregor has taken both the UFC and the world by storm, yet both the Irish government and mainstream media, for the most part, ignore what he’s doing. If Conor McGregor was a boxer and achieved what he has in the UFC, he’d have about 12 statues in his name, the key to Dublin city, and probably be President. Unfortunately, he can’t get so much as a “congratulations” from anyone in government, let alone front page coverage in the papers. To put it into perspective, RTÉ (Ireland’s main broadcasting company) didn’t have a single camera or correspondent in New York this past weekend to cover the fight yet a few weeks ago Ryan Tubridy gets flown to the states to interview Bruce Springsteen for The Late Late Show.
The only politician that seems to have given Conor McGregor credit for making history is Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams who tweeted:
Our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny was tweeting about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series last week, I would imagine McGregor’s feat would hold a small bit more relevance than that, would it not? This achievement is the equivalent of the Irish soccer team winning the World Cup and the Euros back to back. And I’m sure I’ll get slated for saying this but, Conor McGregor is one of Ireland’s greatest ever sportsmen, definitely THE greatest of this generation. If any of our other sports people/teams did what he did in whatever they do Ireland would declare it a national holiday!
I understand that the sport of MMA is one that is always going to be surrounded by controversy in Ireland but I feel it’s time for us to catch up with the rest of the world. Yes it’s a dangerous sport and yes some might find it uncomfortable to watch, that’s no reason to ignore it though. Boxing is a violent sport, we don’t ignore when we have a representative on the world stage for that.
People may argue that Conor McGregor isn’t a good role model for kids, this couldn’t be more wrong. Yeah he choses to use colourful language towards his opponents leading up to big fights, but that’s all part of the game. Look at how he treats and acts towards them after the fight, look at how he treats his fans when he meets them on the street, look at how humble and grateful he is about how far he has come. You won’t find a more respectful sportsman if you look passed the promotion and pre-fight hype. He’s also the epitome of working hard to achieve your dreams. Listen to some of his interviews from his early days in the UFC and before, he’s worked hard for everything he has achieved in this sport. That shit is inspiring!
To cap this off, I believe we owe this man a lot more respect for what he has achieved and how he has represented us as a country. He has given us a lot to cheer for in a time where we don’t have much to be cheering. And he’s done all of this without forgetting his roots, Ireland.
Thanks for reading, sorry if this post is a bit shit, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything so there may be some post writers block rust! Do you agree with my point? Was I just talking complete shite there? Let me know what you think on Facebook or @GilroysWorld on Twitter.