independent

Sunday 22 September 2019

Time for UFC to be KO'd when we have real fighters like Emma

Conor McGregor is not a worthy role model
Conor McGregor is not a worthy role model

David Looby

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas as proven by the UFC antics on Saturday night.

As someone who has never had time for the 'sport', it wasn't surprising to me to learn that there were afters at a fight which has tarnished the hardly squeaky clean image the blood sport has. Conor McGregor has won over legions of fans with his trash talking braggadocio. He hyped up his chances and had his fans convulsed with excitement ahead of his fight with Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov.

McGregor trades off his Crumlin roots, like they are a badge of respect and honour by virtue of geographical association.

For me McGregor is a businessman first and foremost. His wealth does not validate who he is. His flash cars and celebrity clone behaviour does not make him a person to aspire to.

Don't get me wrong, McGregor does have qualities, including the gift of the gab Dubliners are famous for. He is a tremendous athlete and a proud Irishman. He is clearly fearless and a master of self promotion. But a role model to aspire to: never.

Thousands of his fans stayed up into the early hours of Sunday morning. Many were young men who had totally bought into the McGregor phenomenon. They enjoy his press conferences, his in-your-face attitude, the whole show. Having made bold claims about winning the bout, McGregor found himself up against a better fighter and lost. It was sweet revenge for Nurmagomedov who was on the UFC bus McGregor and his entourage attacked in April. That incident culminated in an infamous sequence that saw McGregor hurl a dolly through a bus window, which ultimately left several fighters shaken up and forced two UFC contenders to withdraw from their respective UFC fights as a result of injuries suffered from the broken glass.

On Saturday night the sport was dragged into further disrepute when members of Nurmagomedov's team attacked McGregor after the fight and there were more afters as three of the Russian's team got in on the action.

Just over two months ago all felony counts against the popular fighter were dismissed and McGregor got a slap on the wrist for his behaviour, (five days of community service, 1-3 days of an anger management evaluation, and he will be required to pay restitution for the damage he inflicted on the bus). Three orders of protections were also served against McGregor, including two by UFC fighters Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa. McGregor will not be permitted near them until July 2020. For a man in his thirties to behave in this way is shocking. The gardaí deal with countless incidents of violence every week, mostly domestic violence. UFC is all about violence and needs to be seen for what it is and needs to be stamped out.

Another Irish person in their thirties, Emma Mhic Mhathúna - who died aged 37 on Sunday - was a true Irish role model, An inspirational mother who fought with every breath to secure the financial future of her five children, taking on the Health Service Executive and the US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, winning a settlement of €7.5m, she was one of 221 women with cervical cancer found to have received incorrect results during a clinical audit of past test results by the CervicalCheck screening programme. Ms Mhic Mhathúna lived the opposite of a flash lifestyle, putting up with a hard backed couch so her children would be provided for. She was a fighter far more worthy of global attention.

Wexford People

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