Oct. 09, 2018
Fight Week: The Conor McGregor Effect
There is a disconnect here.
For the life of me I can't remember the last time that before a fight (or any other sporting event) both sides were so certain about the outcome. It's crazy when you think about it, if you ask Mayweather or McGregor to give you their honest predictions they will swear up and down the wall that not only are they going to be victorious, but that the other guy has no business being in the ring with them.
Seeing so much confidence (you can call it arrogance, that's cool) from both sides is actually kind of refreshing, specially now when everyone in the sports world tries so hard to show as much sportsmanship as they can, and don't get me wrong, every young athlete should look up to people like Roger Federer; who is a total gentleman and lets his actions speak for him. Having said that, and being completely honest, if everyone was like that it would get really annoying really fast, and the same goes with Floyd and Conor. I think all I'm trying to say is that we need variety to keep things interesting. And boy are things interesting heading up to this Saturday.
August 26, 2017. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Someone is living in a fantasy land, and is going to have an extremely rude awakening when the fight is over. And you can say "Well duh, that happens to every fighter, all of them believe they are going to win", and you are right, in order to make it in combat sports you must have supreme confidence in your abilities and the work you put in the gym. But we have never seen something like this before. We've never seen something with this circumstances and scale.
The attention this two have gathered is incredible. Miguel Cotto is fighting the same day in which could be his final fight and almost no one knows. That is an indicator of the gravity that Mayweather and McGregor are generating, and there are a lot of reasons why; they both are huge stars, a crossover fight like this has never happened before (and I am not counting Ali vs Anoki, that wasn't a boxing match), this could be Mayweather's last fight, there is that boxing vs MMA feel, etc.
But for my money, the biggest selling point has become the complete disconnect from reality that one of the camps involved is displaying. I mean, good god, someone is so dead wrong that it's not even funny. Why do I say "become"? Wasn't the confidence there at the start from each fighter? Of course it was, this two have more self belief than anyone I can remember, and make no mistake, both believe everything they have said from day one.
What's changed is the outside perspective.
When the fight was first announced it was ridiculed and categorized as a circus or a freak show, not only by the boxing community but by the main stream media as well, only some part of the MMA community showed support for the idea. And, to be honest, they had every right to do so. We heard it all "This guy is not worthy to be boxing Floyd Mayweather" "This a joke/farce" "It is only a cash grab" "This tarnishes boxing" "He is not going to land a shot" "I'm not even watching" So on...
And, well, a lot of people still feel that way. But, a lot of other people have turned a little bit, how much? Enough to show doubt, and when there is doubt, there is an opening for belief. And why is this happening? I believe is something called the Conor McGregor effect.
Those who have followed Conor McGregor's MMA career have been exposed to this phenomenon for a long time, that's why they believe so much in the Irishman's words. Mystic Mac has not only predicted outcomes of fights with amazing precision, but maybe more impressive has predicted almost step by step his rise to the position he finds himself in today.
When he was a young upstart trying to make his ways through the ranks he predicted he would be a UFC world champion someday, and yeah that is something that is in the minds of every young and hungry MMA hopefull, but few are able to accomplish it. He did it, when he KO'd 10 year undefeated featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds (Also predicting the shot he would use to do it and the round). He then predicted that he would be the first ever fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time, and after a small detour with Nate Diaz (which thank god for that, that second fight was amazing), he DEMOLISHED the extremely accomplished and successful 155 pound champion Eddie Alvarez to become exactly what he said he was going to become. So you see what I am saying, there is a reason why the main stream media has changed their position (even if just a little) about this fight, they hadn't been exposed so much time to Conor McGregor and the special aura he posses. Hell, he even predicted that this fight would happen, and that is something that no one else thought possible at the time.
Finally, maybe his biggest and most unlikely prediction may come true after this Saturday, and that is not defeating Floyd Mayweather, it is getting a part of the UFC. Conor exprsed a lot of interest about getting an ownership stake from the company, he was dismissed as a dreamer by a lot of people, but as almost as all the other things he has predicted it is starting to take form. Talks about giving McGregor shares have already started, and that has everything to do with the huge payday he is getting Saturday and Dana White recognizing that he is going to need to do something big to keep the biggest star his company has ever seen around.
In simple words, Conor McGregor is special, we as a society gravitate towards special occurrences and individuals. And wether you love him or you hate him, wether you want him to pull off the upset of the century or you want him to crash and burn in front of the world.
You want to watch it.