UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta thinks Conor McGregor is 'almost like the Irish Muhammad Ali'

As he looked out into the sea of Tri-colours in the middle of a desert oasis known as Vegas Nevada, Conor McGregor felt at home, as if Dublin had moved 4,936 miles west, and nestled in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta thinks Conor McGregor is 'almost like the Irish Muhammad Ali'

By Derek Bowe of www.MMALatestNews.com

As he looked out into the sea of Tri-colours in the middle of a desert oasis known as Vegas Nevada, Conor McGregor felt at home, as if Dublin had moved 4,936 miles west, and nestled in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The talented Irishman knew it was his moment, his time to show the world that it has not been talk, that he is every bit the transcendent talent which he has touted himself.

The Irish fan base is a group unlike any other in professional sports, they are passionate, yet honest with themselves, they are thunderous in noise, yet respectful in nature, and will adopt any outsider willing to get behind their cause. The Irish have truly brought their country stateside.

In the United States of America McGregor is not just some talented foreigner dominating a sport that is on the doorstep of mainstream popularity, Conor McGregor has become a superstar, a face even bigger than the promotion he competes in.

"Excuse me, but is that Conor McGregor guy fighting UFC again soon? You know, the one who wears the nice suits and knocks all those people out. That boy is something."

This was asked to me last Wednesday as I waited for a coffee, the person had noticed I was wearing a shirt showing a UFC logo on it. The lady was also a senior citizen, whose age was likely north of seventy. That is not the natural age demographic this sport attracts, her attention had very clearly been captured by McGregor, not mixed martial arts in general.

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta summed up Conor's popularity and promotional ability accurately.

Fertitta said: "I hate even saying this, but with his gift of gab and his athletic ability and fighting ability, it’s almost like the Irish Muhammad Ali in a way.

"To compare anybody to Ali is kind of stupid because of all the other great things that were associated with him from a social movement and everything else. But Conor has just got that sparkle, that thing to him."

That is how people perceive Conor, he is such a polarizing figure. The Irishman's knack for stealing the show is uncanny, from every press conference he is a part of, to a showcase of the biggest stars in the sport.

The UFC's GO BIG event featured some of the promotion's top names, including another megastar, Ronda Rousey herself. The person who stole the show, and spewed quotable material throughout, Conor McGregor.

When a star has the ability to bring in an audience other than the accustomed viewers, that is where their drawing power is judged. Conor McGregor does just that. I'll share another personal account.

My father who was a devout boxing fan, is aware of what I do, and casually watches the sport when it is televised on network television, he took the time to research Conor, also researched his opponent José Aldo, and ultimately purchased the UFC 194 card on Pay-per-view.

To give an idea of what exactly that means, my father has not ordered a UFC card since Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture II after I convinced him to do so in order for friends of mine to witness the fight.

Conor McGregor is not simply a great mixed martial artist, he has mastered every aspect of entertainment. From the essential way Conor dresses in well-fitted attire, to his ability to end his opponent's night in the Octagon exactly as he had predicted prior to each respective bout.

He focuses on subtleties that go ignored by other competitors and colleagues alike, that is what sets McGregor apart, and makes him unique, his ability to carry his attention to detail from his everyday life to his training, and eventually in to his order of business, the fight.

Mainstream popularity is the tip of the iceberg for the brash 27-year-old. As his star rises, he keeps performing feats the sport has never seen.

It is personalities such has his that will usher in the new age of combat sports. Mixed Martial Arts will continue to thrive as long as it has a driving force like McGregor. He is not simply another talented pugilist hailing from Dublin.

He is The Notorious Conor McGregor, worldwide icon.

"You don't have to love it. You may even hate it. But you will be forced to accept it."

More in this section

ieStyle Live 2021 Logo
ieStyle Live 2021 Logo

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Discover the great outdoors on Ireland's best walking trails

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up