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WHEN WILL SUCKERS REALIZE McGREGOR — AND UFC — ARE FRAUDS?
Smart people shouldn’t waste time and money on a drunken creep who was pummeled to a bloody pulp, casting further aspersions on a sick, depraved exercise of organized violence
It’s your life, your decision. But it’s our society, our currency. And as Conor McGregor lay there like a carcass in the cage — broken ankle dangling, blood oozing from his ear and mouth, Irish whiskey and various substances seeping from other bodily pores, slurs streaming about the wife of the fighter who’d just pummeled him — all I could do was the math.
For five minutes of sick, depraved ‘‘entertainment,’’ multitudes of human beings invested a collective $145 million Saturday night in something best dismissed as a pay-per-view arse farce. Add $16.5 million in gate revenue at T-Mobile Arena — fed by a Las Vegas sellout crowd that included two NFL owners (Robert Kraft and Mark Davis), Donald Trump (who was resoundingly booed and cheered), Dave Chappelle, Jared Leto, Baker Mayfield, Mel Gibson and other celebrities with nothing better to do — and UFC president/thug Dana White was committing yet another consumer heist of epic proportions.
‘‘I have to be careful with this stuff now that we’re a public company — I can’t go shooting my mouth off and have it be completely wrong,” White said at the post-debacle press conference. ‘‘But I’m going to say we came in anywhere between 1.7 and 1.8 million.”
As in buys, at between $69.99 and $89.98 a pop, as priced by UFC’s co-conspirators at ESPN.
Think of the good that could be accomplished in this world with $160 million. We could help kids with cancer. We could provide housing for tent dwellers. We could educate young adults, ages 18 to 29, about why they should be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. We could fund inspections so aging condo buildings don’t collapse. We could do so much for humanity. Instead, these dopes are filling the pockets of White’s bosses at Endeavor and their broadcast partners in Bristol, who have to pay Stephen A. Smith his $12 million annually so he can buy cream-colored custom suits to wear during match-night commentary appearances.
A company man who enjoys his lifestyle, Smith doesn’t have the editorial independence to state the revolting truth about UFC. I do. And here goes: No word is too strong in repudiating what White is selling. Disgusting, repulsive, odious, vulgar, deplorable, nauseating, gross, vile — all of it applies. Any well-adjusted person with a functioning heart and brain should know better than to watch it, much less support it with money. But White, the most shameless promoter ever known to sports, realized he could extract one more massive payday from the badboy mystique of McGregor, who remained marketable despite violent behavior ranging from rape allegations in his native Ireland … to assaulting an elderly man in a bar … to heaving dollies and trash cans at buses filled with UFC fighters. ‘‘The most disgusting thing that ever has happened in the history of this company,’’ White said of the latter incident.
It didn’t stop him from scraping McGregor out of the gutter, washing him off and letting him re-enact his obnoxious ‘‘Billionaire Strut’’ for a UFC 264 trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier. Never mind that McGregor had won only one cage fight since 2016, when he knew PPV-buying fools would pay up for his boxing debacle against Floyd Mayweather. Never mind that he’d spent recent years as a drunken clown who furthered his rogue rep by hawking bro-dude brands such as DraftKings and his whiskey company, Proper No. 12, which he sold for $100 million. Never mind that he had become strictly a product — the world’s top-earning athlete in a 12-month, pandemic-plagued period ending in May 2021 — and no longer was a fighter.
They bought the McGregor shlock anyway.
And when a merciless TKO beatdown was stopped by a doctor after the first round, those suckers had to wonder why they’re wasting time and bank on such bollocks, to use another Euro-term. This is Exhibit A of what White does: He preys on male millennials and Gen Zers who think UFC is cool when, in any legitimate medical analysis, it’s a death sport that is more dangerous than football as a cause of long-term brain damage. Watch how Poirier lands vicious elbow barrages to his face and skull while on top of him, just before McGregor suffers a grotesque leg injury.
‘‘Not the ending that fans wanted,’’ said ESPN’s Michael Eaves, another helpless employee doing his bosses’ dirty work.
Cartoon Conor was carted away on a stretcher, hazily gesturing to fans amid boos — but not before revealing himself as the jerk he is. In a post-fight interview, he shouted at Poirier that he is having sex with his wife.
‘‘Your wife is in me DMs,” he said. ‘‘Hey baby, hit me back, I’ll chat to you later on. I’ll be at me afterparty at the Wynn nightclub. You’re looking mint, you little …”
Fortunately, Poirier was the one adult in the Octagon. ‘‘My wife is solid as a rock. I’m not worried about that. That’s noise,’’ he said. “But (McGregor) was saying he was going to kill me. You don’t say stuff like that, that he was going to murder me. You don’t say stuff like that. You don’t say stuff about people’s wives, either, but I know that that’s zero chance. There is a chance somebody could die. You don’t say that. You don’t wish that on anybody.
‘‘He got what was coming to him. Karma is a mirror.’’
Naturally, White ended this warped microcosm of American life by saying, sure, hell yeah, he’ll push for another fight between the two. ‘‘When Conor is healed and ready to go,’’ he said, ‘‘we’ll do the rematch, I guess.’’
I like Poirier’s idea better. ‘‘We are going to fight again,’’ he said, ‘‘whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk.’’
Please put this bloody bastard out of his misery right there in public view, on the Vegas Strip if possible, with one last body blow that deposits him into a sewage drain.
Jay Mariotti, called ‘‘the most impacting Chicago sportswriter of the past quarter-century,’’ writes sports columns for Substack and a Wednesday media column for Barrett Sports Media while appearing on some of the 1,678,498 podcasts in production today. He’s an accomplished columnist, TV panelist and radio talk host. Living in Los Angeles, he gravitated by osmosis to film projects. Compensation for this column is donated to the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust.