Mr. McGregor and Mr. White, we’re waiting. It’s been a little over three days since Conor McGregor was heard using a despicable homophobic slur while describing a fellow UFC fighter. Do they think we’ve forgotten? If so, I’m here to remind them.
In case you missed it, last Saturday at UFC: Gdansk after his teammate, Artem Lobov, lost his fight to Andre Fili, Conor McGregor was heard repeatedly using a gay slur when referring to Fili while talking with Lobov. The UFC’s posted video was abruptly taken down and neither McGregor nor Dana White has issued an official comment on the situation since. There you have it. The UFC’s biggest star is on tape saying some dreadful words and the UFC has apparently decided it’s not important enough to address. The UFC’s response to this isn’t as dreadful as McGregor’s comments themselves, but it’s pretty darn close. McGregor and the UFC owe fans an apology, an explanation, and a punishment for McGregor. Anything less, confirms both to be pathetic hypocrites.
First and foremost, there is no place for that kind of talk anywhere in 2017. Period. This is especially true when it comes to a worldwide public figure like Conor McGregor. McGregor has influence and has made himself into a pop culture phenomenon. That type of fame comes with responsibility. By using the type of language that he did, McGregor spit in the face of that responsibility. By not apologizing or commenting after, he showed that he doesn’t deserve to have the influence or worldwide status that he does because he doesn’t understand what it means.
Hearing Conor McGregor talk in the way he did on Saturday simply makes him a hypocrite. McGregor’s personality always seemed to have some genuineness to it. He is confident, outspoken, and brash. The words he spoke Saturday night are words of fear, weakness, and cowardice. That clashes with his public persona and shows that his personality could be nothing more than an act.
Further, McGregor and his team had been very vocal in being in favor of same sex marriage in Ireland. He has been quoted as saying, “We all deserve equal rights. We’re all human here at the end of the day — regardless of color, gender, sexuality. Any of that. It’s all meaningless. We all deserve the same rights. It just feels right to me.”
McGregor also tweeted on the subject saying, “Myself and my team are urging everyone to please VOTE YES TO EQUALITY! Every human deserves equal rights #WeAreAllOne.” After his comments this weekend, those quotes lose all worth and merit until he explains himself.
The UFC is on the hook here too. It was their account that showcased the video and it’s their fighter that did the talking. The UFC is a very public company that gets support from a diverse group of fans from all around the world. They need to protect, respect, and advocate for all their fans that spill money into their company each and every week. I understand that they can’t control what Conor McGregor or any of their other fighters say. They can demand accountability from them though. That is what must be done here and it starts by publicly addressing what happened. They can’t let this type of talk become a trend inside their company and within their sport.
Just a few weeks ago, Fabricio Werdum, spouted similar homophobic rhetoric at a UFC PPV promotional event. As a company, UFC responded quickly and forcefully with messaging that stated “The UFC organization is disappointed with recent comments made by Fabricio Werdum at a promotional event in Los Angeles. The nature and implication of his comments do not reflect UFC’s views and will not be tolerated, no matter the manner in which they are used. We acknowledge and appreciate that Fabricio has since apologized to the organization and to anyone he may have offended with his words. As high profile athletes, role models, and global ambassadors of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, athletes under contract with UFC are required to abide by the Athlete Conduct Policy.”
Like Conor McGregor, the UFC are hypocrites. How can an organization issue that type of response to one of its fighters and then not say a word regarding a situation that involved the exact same rhetoric as its predecessor? It may be bad for business for UFC to punish Conor McGregor and potentially alienate their biggest star. Alienating fans by condoning moronic remarks is worse for business and that’s what’s at stake here.
There is nothing Conor McGregor can say now that will undo the disrespect he showed to many people around the world with the hateful words he used on Saturday night. All that can be expected of him now is a well thought out apology that conveys how sorry, stupid, and misinformed he was for using the words that he did. Just like McGregor can’t take back what he said, the UFC can’t undo the idiocy of not immediately addressing the incident. Unlike McGregor though, they can still act. That action needs to be swift and clear punishment to McGregor that shows the fighters in the company and the world that watches them that those words and that thinking aren’t tolerated anymore. If Conor McGregor is a true man, he’ll accept the punishment and move forward ready and willing to help knock out intolerance in the MMA world and beyond.
NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: Khabib Nurmagomedov is living in a fantasy world