Yesterday, Conor McGregor went on a Twitter rant where he asked for the game to bow at his throne and later went on to include himself into the UFC Hall of Fame.
It was all quite entertaining and afterwards I was left asking myself an odd question, is Conor McGregor the best self-promoter I’ve ever seen?
The most natural comparison to draw was to Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Mayweather talked his way into receiving a $300Mil payday for headlining a fight that was easily 8 years past its prime. His business savvy is unrivaled in sports and he’s created this persona that captivated more than just the boxing community. With that being said, it was just that, a creation.
Mayweather began as “Pretty Boy” Floyd. A humble young KO’d that enjoyed boxing and dominated the lower weight classes. That persona, which is actually closer to Floyd’s true personality, didn’t sell in the boxing world.
Then we saw a move to welterweight, a change in boxing style (no longer did Floyd stand and engage with fighters) and a change in attitude. “Money” Mayweather trash talked De La Hoya and the Mexican fans nonstop before that fight and from that grew a bad guy persona that would earn him all of his riches. Floyd spent as much time building that rough around the edge image as he did training for his fights.
Looking at Conor McGregor it’s easy to see the same blueprint. A talented fighter who’s now moving up a weight class for bigger match ups and that trash talks to earn major money. The difference that sticks out to me though is the fact that McGregor doesn’t have to fabricate his actions. These aren’t premeditated or crafted by a team of advisors. Conor entered the UFC with this brash persona and it catapulted him through the ranks both competitively and monetarily.
Then do we give Conor the nod as the better promoter? Conor posses in droves what Mayweather had to script. Conor has become the highest earning MMA fighter in the world in what truthfully amounts to 3 years and he projects to shatter every number in the UFC record books twice over.
McGregor is also possesses something Floyd never did, true knock out power. It’s that power that drew the early Ali comparisons. A slick talking, heavy-handed fighter that backed up his words. The earning potential and business acumen of McGregor is far past Ali’s, not to knock Ali but it is a product of the times. In my eyes the current run of Conor McGregor compares favorably, if not better than, the run of Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. two men who used their KO flare to earn great amounts of money but their lack of business knowledge led to them both ending in bankruptcy.
These are some of the greatest fighters of my generation that in one way or another fall short of McGregor. So, are we witnessing greatness and not giving it the respect it should garner? Are we all so worried about being wrong in the long haul that we won’t speak up in the moment?
It’s fighting, people get knocked out and people lose but that doesn’t take away from what they were for a period of time. I’ll admit that I may be short-sighted but the run that Conor McGregor has had is one that already puts him in this history books as one of the greatest promoters in combat sports history and he has the chance in 2016 to remove all doubt to whether he owns the top spot on that list.
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