After a year of MMA inactivity, outlandish cageside behavior, and a plethora of unique social media posts; has the MMA community soured on Conor McGregor?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist
Yes, some of them have. Some of the hate McGregor gets is valid, based on having not defended a title he won over fourteen months ago. Some of the hate is based on his brash behavior and antics, the very things that made him popular in the first place. He makes a good villain. People love to hate Goliath and they root for a David to come along and knock him off his perch.
At the same time, some of the hate is crap and is that kind of hipster-hate where it becomes cool to these people to hate on something mainstream. These are the people who say stuff like “Game of Thrones isn’t as good as it used to be!” which is sometimes met with an even more extreme type of jerk who replies “It never was any good.” These are the people who say a band sells out the second they stop playing for 12 people in a small nightclub and get their songs played on the radio. Or that a group or artist sold out when they cut their freaking hair. These are the people who delight in telling you about some obscure indie band but say they changed when that band gets popular.
My point is, it’s become cool among a certain group of people to hate on McGregor. The thing is, he hasn’t changed. He’s the exact same guy he was a few years ago. He always talked about wanting to run his own company and being a brand in and of itself. You shouldn’t hate on a scorpion for being a scorpion.
I think most of this hate is misplaced. Sure, you can (and should) blame McGregor for holding up the lightweight division, but more importantly you should blame the UFC for allowing him to do that. Don’t blame one guy for holding up a division in order to make obscene amounts of cash, blame the company that allows him to do that. No one is bigger than the sport, yet the UFC treats McGregor as if he is.
JOHN HARRIS, MMATorch Contributor
He still has a loyal fan base, but as whole I would say yes. MMA fans do not like champions who do not defend their belts, and that is where we are at with McGregor. He has yet to defend his 155 pound title due to various circumstances and now it seems like it might never happen. Fans are always a little tired of Dana White constantly defending every move McGregor makes. There has never been a fighter in UFC history more protected and received more benefits than McGregor. I for one I am ready to see the UFC actually acknowledge some of their other champions more often than just the week of their upcoming fight.
DAVE KOULA, MMATorch Contributor
I don’t think the current climate is any different than anything we’ve seen from the MMA community in the last few years. When Conor has a fight on the books, everyone is locked and loaded for Mystic Mac, and when the clock gets ticking a little longer people start to get fed up. Once a fight (and I am very confident it will happen this year) is announced for Conor everyone will be right back on board as usual. As far as some of his outside the Octagon antics go, I think the guy is completely bulletproof – and all any of it does is bring him back up in conversation.
RAFFAEL IGLESIAS, MMATorch Contributor
There’s a section of the MMA community that has no doubt turned on him. There is a segment of society that needs to see their heroes die on their swords and not leisure comfortably forever, on a bed of pillows. Conner never needs to fight again in the Octagon. He can make far more money boxing. He has generational money under his mattress and does not need to diet, cut weight, or endure a grueling training camp again in his life. The man doesn’t owe anybody anything. As a fan, however, I really hope he does fight for the UFC, for the same reason people turned on him, I just want to see him fight in an octagon.
DYLAN BOWKER, MMATorch Contributor
This sort of stigma tends to follow highly covered fighters. Stars like Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey have also had fans turn on them to a degree. Hardcore MMA fans seem to have generally an unsavory viewpoint of “casual fans”. A mixed-martial artist like Conor does attract that certain group of fans. There’s also resentment for McGregor’s recent outburst in the Bellator cage, his lengthy hiatus from UFC competition, and I’m sure there are a few other reasons. Though the bottom line is, the more prominent a talent is, the more likely they are to attract a group of resentful people.
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATorch Contributor
It seems that fans are catching on to McGregor’s act and it might be wearing a little thin. But how can you blame them? Conor McGregor is a popular fighter and fight fans want to see him fight. Once the Diddy money dries up, hopefully McGregor gets back to what brought him to the dance.
SEAN COVINGTON, MMATorch Contributor
Hard to say, most want to emulate his “marketing” to maximize their purse and booking potential. The rest want a shot at him because he has been thoroughly protected and he is dodging the top ten of his weight class(es). McGregor got props for the Mayweather fight from the MMA community, but now it’s time for him to DEFEND his MMA championship(s). If he does that, everyone gets off his back.
NOW READ THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: Who Should Cris Cyborg face next?