It’s not a good time to be in the Conor McGregor business. Unless you’re selling Proper 12 or one of his other products, it’s been hard to monetize McGregor for quite a while. He hasn’t fought in two years. It’s been three and a half years since he won a professional bout.
Low Ratings for The Ultimate Fighter
Ratings for the current season of The Ultimate Fighter started out low (294K average viewers in week one) and are getting worse by the week (down to 222K average viewers last week). For perspective, in 2010 when Kimbo Slice was featured on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, episodes averaged 3.4M viewers per week and peaked at 6.1M viewers for the big Kimbo vs Roy Nelson bout.
And unlike Kimbo Slice, Conor likely isn’t even going to make it into the cage to fight his opposite number Michael Chandler this year. USADA’s drug testing rules require him to begin testing this week if he wants to fight in 2023. That ain’t looking likely. I’m not even going to dignify all the rumors about backne, grotesque changes to his facial bone structure, etc etc.
Disaster(s) in Miami
When I started drafting this piece I was going to bemoan the ridiculous incident where he allegedly put the Miami Heat mascot in the hospital in a stupid promotional stunt gone wrong.
Unfortunately things have gotten even worse. Now a woman is filing a civil suit alleging that he sexually assaulted her at that same Miami Heat game. While he is certainly entitled to an assumption of innocence – and honestly this case should be relatively straightforward to prove or disprove given the level of video surveillance present at an NBA arena.
But it’s not like this is the first time Mystic Mac has been accused of sexual assault. His wikipedia page features more entries on his “controversies” than it includes about his fighting career. We’ve got “Driving Offences”, “Incident at Bellator 187”, “Bus attack at UFC 223 Media Day”, “Incident at UFC 229”, “Dublin sexual assault allegations”, “Florida robbery arrest”, “Dublin pub assault”, “Corsica arrest”, “Altercation with Machine Gun Kelly”, “Alleged attack on Francesco Facchinetti”, “Alleged attack on yacht”, “Punching the Miami Heat mascot”, and now this.
Luke Thomas on the latest McGregor allegations
CBS MMA analyst Luke Thomas took to YouTube for his weekly live chat and naturally had to field a LOT of questions about Conor McGregor’s latest fiasco in Miami. After duly reminding his viewers that the charges are only allegations and reminding everyone of McGregor’s right to a presumption of innocents, Thomas dropped this truth bomb:
“I mean, here’s the best I can say about all of this, given what we know, which is very very little. We know, literally, allegations and then denials. It would not in any way be surprising, right? It would not, in any way, be surprising. …
“I’m not in any way saying that I don’t believe it. In fact, again, this would make the third time Conor is accused of sexual assault if we’re counting, right? If we’re counting, there’s the incident that happened apparently in December of 2018 in Dublin, which later took on legal life in 2019. There is the incident in Corsica, where he was arrested and then let go, and the authorities there ultimately dropped charges because they had insignificant evidence. And now there is this, and then on top of it there is one that’s, to my knowledge, I had to double check this because someone had noted it, there was a woman who claims to have been assaulted on a yacht by him, I believe his yacht, and then had to jump off. She also went to the authorities, but to my knowledge, is not a sexual assault claim, more just actual straight-up assault. And of course if we’re talking assault, there’s that one that didn’t turn into assault, but he got kind of spicy with Machine Gun Kelly, the Bellator cage, how about the Italian DJ who claimed he got assaulted? How about the old guy in the pub which was caught on video? You know, there’s been a few of these, there’s been a few of these, at least at a bare minimum of allegations. So if it were true would it in any way be surprising? No I don’t think that it would be.
“It’s just weird for someone to be accused of this many assaults, sexual or otherwise, and then for all of them to be frivolous claims, especially when he’s been caught on video punching an old guy in a bar, you know. Or, you know, caught on video jumping into the Bellator cage, which again, you’re like, oh he was celebrating with a teammate. I’ve had teammates fight. I can’t do that, you know. oh well he’s Rich, it’s like, well right that’s the point right, is that rich people, whoever they are, get to do whatever the fuck they want. So we’ll see. Not great.”
What would it take for the UFC to cut Conor McGregor?
Thomas also fielded a question about what it would take for the UFC to cut ties with McGregor:
“What would happen if the Ultimate Fighting Championships decide to cut Conor McGregor from the roster? Well, they never would because handing him over to the free market; I mean, you know, the other promoters couldn’t line up fast enough to sign him, like there’s just no way that they sign him and like the other promoters are like, oh, we also are so concerned about these allegations, you know what I mean? Like they know that, the UFC knows that too, so the UFC has to eat shit because they’re going to keep him on roster, he’s got all these issues swirling, but they’d rather eat that than just give him to the free market and then change.
“You know how much money PFL would throw at Conor? Think about how much money they threw at Francis. What would they… Dude, they would sell, they would sell part of the company too, like they would do… Not just like PFL Africa for Francis; like, the entire PFL. They would do anything and they know that. The UFC knows that. So there’s an absolutely zero chance. He’d have to be accused of, like… He’d have to be accused of a crime or convicted of a crime so heinous that the UFC knew, if they released him, no one would touch him with a 10-foot pole. Just think about what that would have to be in order to be true. Just think about that.”
Red pilled MMA fans leaping to McGregor’s defense
Thomas also had a salient point about MMA fans and Conor McGregor, inspired by this comment from a viewer:
“We have an issue with red pill people in the fan base. Yeah, there’s a lot of right-wing loons in the fan base, to be quite clear. A lot of, you know, I mean, look, listen: You got low financial literacy and people prone to conspiracy thinking, which is why crypto was such a huge part of MMA. Now that crypto’s blown up in their face, largely they’ve gotten much, much quieter about it. But, you know, this is who just, you know, a lot of those kinds of types are attracted to fighting, and so, you know, you just have to kind of understand that.”
CBS Sports’ Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti say this might be it for Conor McGregor
In a recent video on CBS Sports’ Boomer and Gio show, the two hosts discuss the potentially devastating impact the sexual assault allegations could have on McGregor’s career if proven to be true.
Boomer Esiason: So he grabs her by the arm and takes her into the bathroom.
Gregg Giannotti: Yes… It looks like he is taking her body arm because she is reluctant. It’s not like a holding, loving holding hands. Let’s go. I mean it looks like he’s just deciding, I’m going to take this woman with me, and grabs her arm and starts pulling her. Now obviously you don’t see what happens in the bathroom but the accurate accusations are horrible.
And now seeing the video of that, the whole thing becomes much more real and believable for me. I’ve learned over the years not to jump to conclusions on these things. And that’s why when Jerry brought it up, I said we just have to see with more information but this video for him and his defense in this. It looks horrendous. Absolutely horrendous. I mean just that in itself, to pull somebody seemingly unwillingly into a bathroom, and then have security stand outside of it,
Boomer Esiason: Not good.
Gregg Giannotti: And then you hear what she is alleging happened in there? I mean, this is… if she is telling the truth about what happened in that bathroom and it has proven out that way then that is career ending reputation ending, he’s done. Everything, his whiskey will be done. His career will be done. His endorsements will be done.
It looks absolutely terrible. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. But I mean that night, I mean, if you think about it, he shows up at that game. He looks terrible, by the way, does not look like him. He looks bloated and just not like him. Then he punches that mascot in the face in a bit gone wrong, sends the guy to the hospital and now was involved in this.
Boomer Esiason: Not good. You know, the Miami Heat obviously put out a statement saying that they’re investigating this. I don’t know what else they can say. I mean, you know, they can’t jump to conclusions either.
Gregg Giannotti: No, I mean, it’s just…
Boomer Esiason: And the question [where] I would, I don’t know the answer. You don’t know the answer. I don’t think anybody knows. I mean, did he just meet this person? Or did he know this person?
Gregg Giannotti: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, it could have been any sort of situation. He could have just looked at her, found her attractive, and then grabbed her and pulled her, he could have had a conversation with her for a little bit, and then she was given him the time of day because he’s Conor McGregor and then he decided, okay, now I’m gonna take this to the next level because I get everything I want. It could have been any number of things that happened.
I don’t think that anything is acceptable when it comes to this though, [especially] the fact that he just basically decided, you know, that he was going to have what he wanted in that moment.
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