In my previous article when I imagined the panic and guilt that many writers felt after being swept up in the fervor of Conor McGregor’s Toronto performance, some believed I was casting judgement upon McGregor. But that is not the case, I am but a humble observer to these events. I was merely presaging the inevitable backlash that was to come as Conor McGregor looked for ways into the psyche of Floyd Mayweather.
You see, unlike most pundits and fans who view this fight as nothing but a sideshow to make money; Conor McGregor is in this fight to win it. He is not just going to show up, take a beating, collect his money and then return to MMA. He’s a professional fighter and he’s treating this fight like any other. He will poke and prod and use whatever words necessary to try to throw Mayweather off his game.
Despite years of Joe Rogan yelling about Floyd’s “brittle hands”, one fight that has likely been studied in the McGregor camp is Mayweather’s bout against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Yes, the very same fighter who is fighting Gennady Golovkin in September in the “real” boxing match was famously beaten by the supposed brittle-fisted old man in an almost comical fashion. Mayweather is a runner? Go back to that fight and watch a 36 year-old welterweight walk down a 23 year-old who stepped in at 165lbs. How do you think Floyd did that? With smooth talking?
Conor knows he is in for the fight of his life and life is the key word. Boxing isn’t rough-housing between frat boys. It remains a sport where severe brain injury and death is a commonality. View some videos of Prichard Colon or Magomed Abdusalamov and then ask yourself if McGregor can just laugh off the seriousness of what is ahead of him when he goes to work on August 26th.
Do McGregor’s antics offend the delicate sensibilities of writers? Well they have an easy choice to make. Stop covering the fight. Refuse to have anything to do with this crass display being used by McGregor. The same display he has used several times before in his ascension to the top of his sport. But that would be almost like taking a stand for the principles they are now waving in McGregor’s face.
The excuses and rationalization is thick in the journalism world, “It’s my job to cover this event.” Ah, now bending one’s principles is acceptable if you’re getting paid to do so. Wait, isn’t that the very scenario this fight promotion is operating on?
Combat sports are barbaric and the blueprint to disguise the barbarism for those that need to excuse their bloodlust was laid out by long-dead upper middle-class writers. No, these gentle souls are not paying money to be amused by fighters punching each other in the head, they are paying homage to the strength and courage of valiant heroes. Fistic warriors engaged in a reflection of the life and death struggle of mankind. “Oh, the cruelest sport!”
Conor McGregor is fighting not only to beat Floyd Mayweather but to beat his very sport. The UFC is an organization built upon the exploitation of their fighters. A topic the writers declaring their disgust like to avoid. They might write one or two articles a year about how the UFC should treat their fighters better. But not too many and especially not when Lorenzo Fertitta was in charge. Because they know one step over the line and their free tickets to the fights would be gone.
Perhaps Floyd Mayweather is right in the sentiment he expressed at the Brooklyn post-show press conference. There might come a day when Conor McGregor regrets some of the tactics he has used in the pre-fight buildup. But regret is a luxury of old age. I just hope McGregor lives long enough to see it.