Conor McGregor's a master of initiating a response in anger, but latest poppy rant was a mistake
Conor McGregor’s inimitable brand of invective is almost exclusively reserved for opponents past, present and future, as a means of causing physiological capitulation before his piston-left hand ends their misery.
Thus far it’s paid considerable dividends.
Even when considering his undoubted physical gifts of sleek movement, fast-twitch reactions and concussive power, few would dispute that his ascent to summit of the world’s fastest growing sport has been incredibly expedited by the singularity of his personality.
A walking, talking headline; born with the rare talent of inspiring only feelings of an extreme nature. You would be hard-pressed to encounter anyone who pleads ambivalence when asked their thoughts on McGregor.
And, in the fight business, that type of consensus is promotional gold, a licence to print money. The love - [and for that matter hate] is so visceral that ticket sales and pay-per-view buys skyrocket.
The acolytes will travel near or far in solidarity with the loveable rogue through whom they live vicariously; while those offended by his shtick will tune in to witness the upstart get his comeuppance. And of course, everybody gets paid.
Time and again, McGregor has said his diatribes are off the cuff, improvised, a simple case of answering a fair question honestly.
That’s probably true, but only to a degree. He’s a master of frustration and initiating a response in anger, which leads to rage, fear, and error in judgement then, invariably, loss of consciousness. It’s measured, calculated and oh so profitable.
This is what makes his ill-advised response to the juvenile goading sent his way on Facebook last night so curious. It was conceived in the very frustration he’s made a living capitalising on.
That the Sean Heuston 1916 Society had unearthed a picture of McGregor sporting a poppy at a UFC show in Manchester over two years ago, and then used it as a means of undermining his patriotism, should have been revealing enough of the intellect he was dealing with. Yet, he took the bait.
McGregor has consistently stated that his love of Ireland, and that his loyalty lies with his beloved SBG team, his girlfriend and family and, of course, the almighty dollar.
And that’s the point of his regrettable riposte. Whether it is Her Majesty the Queen, forces of a Republican nature, churches of all denomination or politics of any slant, his indifference is in equal measure.
In reality, they should not be taken as anything else but, indeed they will. There will be traction, and the 27-year-old will be fielding questions on his views regarding life’s bigger questions for the foreseeable future; most likely on both sides of the Atlantic.
The hope for him will be that the backlash does not encroach on his featherweight title unification bout with Jose Aldo at UFC 189 six weeks from tomorrow.
Finally, for anyone to posit that one of the great fight promoters of the modern era decided to abandon his better judgement by utilising religion and politics as means of generating hype, think again.
Consider the evidence.
When fighting Brazilians, Germans or Americans, it’s been their apparent lack of skill or courage that McGregor used to eviscerate them, not the god they may pray to or flag they might salute.
He made a mistake; no more, no less.