Conor McGregor epitomizes the money-making “me first” attitude that combat sports athletes have to embody if they’re going to make it in the business. Fighters will tell you MMA is a selfish sport. One in which the fighters have to focus on themselves almost every second of every day. They need to make sure they’re training, eating well, studying their opponent and executing a perfect fight camp.
But, between battles, fighters embrace their brothers-in-arms, and although McGregor is as brash and cocky as they come, you know you’d want him in your corner.
That’s probably why Irish boxer Michael Conlan asked McGregor to walk him out in his pro debut at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. What at first seemed like a marketing ploy to get a few more eyeballs on the 25-year-old slugger, turned out to be an excellent tactical decision.
Beyond his outfit, McGregor refused to be a distraction for Conlan, nor took the spotlight from him. Before the fight, he was focusing on the young fighter’s techniques, giving him advice and strictly helping, never hurting the process before the walk:
“A lot of people out there. Great energy. Stay calm. Feed off it but don’t over-feed off of it.”
It led to a dominant performance by Conlan, who had McGregor shouting, “you’re in the gym,” during the fight, telling him to relax his shoulders and stay powerful.
After Conlan got his hand raised, microphones were shoved into McGregor’s rich face, but he deflected all questions by praising the Irish crowd showing up to support Conlan on St. Paddy’s Day, and the TKO he just witnessed. It wasn’t until after he was off-camera (except for his own crew) that he decided to address the media, veins bulging, declaring that he’d be taking over boxing and knocking out Floyd Mayweather in due time.
Then the most New York interview request ever is floated out to Mystic Mac: “Hey! You wanna do a radio show tomorrah?”