As he sits on the mat with two broken leg bones at the conclusion of UFC 264, Conor McGregor yells threats against his opponent, Dustin Poirier and his wife, not accepting the loss. Is this merely sad, or a plan B marketing effort by McGregor? He has lost four of his last seven fights yet is still the most popular fighter in the MMA. McGregor has obtained both fame and fortune but, like Mike Tyson in the 1990’s, he also appears to have lost his way.
McGregor’s threats against the Poiriers are a reminder of the fighter’s unrestrained past; the video throwing a hand-truck into a bus window following a media event for UFC 223 in July ’18. The March `19 incident when McGregor broke the cellphone of a fan attempting to take his picture in Florida. August of the same year, he punched an older man in Dublin. These violent outbursts make it appear McGregor is struggling with his declining skills and acceptance he is no longer the greatest in his sport.
Unlike Tyson who did self-destruct, maybe McGregor has a plan, one that will keep the money rolling in. The fight was stopped for health reasons, not defeat, which puts him in line for another big payday with a possible fourth fight against Poirier. By screaming at his opponent, it’s like calling “do over!” Has Conor McGregor lost his way, or has he found a path to stay relevant even with his declining skills. After all, publicity—good or bad—keeps him in the public eye for additional big paydays, and for many in his situation, that is the most important part.