McGregor Arrest: Ruined Reputation or Increased Marketability?
On April 3, Khabib Nurmagomedov (at the time the number-one lightweight contender, now lightweight champion) and Artem Lobov (a featherweight contender) had a minor altercation behind the scenes of UFC 223. Lobov is teammates with the one and only Conor McGregor, with whom Nurmagomedov has had numerous altercations and exchanges in the past.
There is undoubtedly a history between McGregor’s team and Nurmagomedov’s team. Just two days later, during promotional appearances for UFC 223, McGregor and a group of about twenty others were let into Brooklyn’s Barclays Center by credentialed members of McGregor’s promotional team.
They were there for one thing, and one thing only- to confront Nurmagomedov. McGregor would go on to throw a hand truck through the bus window, injuring lightweight contender Michael Chiesa and flyweight contender Ray Borg. Both fighters were on the card for UFC 223,
but couldn’t compete due to injuries they sustained during the skirmish. Also on the card was Lobov, and the featherweight contender was promptly kicked off due to his role in the confrontation. The New York Police Department issued a warrant for McGregor’s arrest, and McGregor would eventually surrender. The 29-year-old superstar posted bail days later.
McGregor’s celebrity status in the sporting world caused this news to spread quickly. Many people were disappointed with his actions, but will this affect him?
Connor McGregor is the best thing to happen to the UFC since former fighting sensation Chuck Liddell. He produces such a big draw that, when UFC made its Madison Square Garden debut in 2016, McGregor headlined the event. UFC raked in $17.7 million at that event. Also notable were McGregor’s two fights with rival Nate Diaz, both of which proved to be some of the greatest fights in the UFC’s 25-year history.
In all honesty, I don’t see McGregor losing this incredible power. The only things he might have damaged were his business relationships, though UFC president Dana White insisted that him and McGregor are still on good terms. Otherwise, McGregor will still draw crowds, and people will still want to see him perform. Look at it this way--he is paid to fight, and not to be a role model.
I don’t anticipate McGregor’s reputation being tarnished, after everything
is said and done. If anything, this incident could draw even more fans, because if you didn’t know him before, you do now. To make things even more interesting, an upcoming potential fight could end up being McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight crown.