With Conor McGregor coming out of his self-imposed exile from the octagon to fight in a charity match against Dustin Poirier and potentially taking on boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, the spotlight is firmly back on The Notorious.
Prior to his third retirement, McGregor’s career was one of overwhelming success, rising from a plumber’s assistant to one of the most recognizable and successful fighters in the UFC, with a considerable number of victories and titles to his name.
However, his success has come with its own share of controversial moments, and he can’t be accused of not living up to his moniker. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of those more explosive controversies.
That Parimatch Advert
In an attempt to capture the lucrative UFC market, gaming sites have been producing ads that specifically target UFC fans, and some of the best casinos online now feature UFC themed games, so there’s already a historic connection between gambling and the sport.
McGregor’s first step into the world of sports betting advertising, however, was not smooth sailing at all. The star was roundly mocked for appearing in an ad filled with him fighting cats, tattooed gorillas, dressing as the joker, and beating up Mike Tyson (as a video game character).
Understandably, McGregor was ridiculed by his fans for the bizarre nature of the advert and his performance in it. However, compared to some other events on this list, The Notorious dancing around in a room filled with yellow flamingos seems relatively tame.
The Nate Diaz Situation
UFC 196 and UFC 200 are mostly remembered for the running battles between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor in the run-up to their fight. After Diaz filled in on short notice to fight McGregor at UFC 196, The Notorious referred to Diaz, who is American, as a ‘little cholo’, a pejorative term used for a lower-class or criminal Mexican. This led to accusations of racism.
After being beaten by Diaz, McGregor was set to face him again at UFC 200 but didn’t show up to the press conference and was ultimately removed from the event. While the match would eventually go ahead, the third press conference would see Diaz and McGregor throwing bottles and cans at each other.
The Brooklyn Bus Attack
In arguably one of his most controversial moments, McGregor flew from Dublin to NYC to launch an attack on Khabib Nurmagomedov.
As Nurmagomedov attempted to leave in a bus, McGregor and his crew threw a range of items, including a steel dolly, at the bus, smashing windows and causing many injuries. The event led to the cancellation of six other UFC fights.
The Unusual Pin-Stipes
McGregor’s fight with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather was one of the most anticipated sporting events in the history of MMA, and McGregor decided that he needed to be appropriately dressed for the press meeting.
Arriving in a three-piece pinstripe suit designed by David August Heil, it didn’t take long for fans and the press to notice that the pinstripes were made up of tiny “f**k you” slogans. After the presser, Heil went on record to say that the inspiration for the suit was the juxtaposition between the profanity and the traditional nature of the suit.
The Proper 12 Whiskey Punch
Conor McGregor has always been proud of his Irish heritage, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when he announced the birth of his own whiskey brand, Proper 12.
More of a surprise was when McGregor celebrated his whiskey by punching a man in his 50s in a Dublin pub after he refused to drink a shot of Proper 12.
The CCTV of the incident shows McGregor pouring shots of his whiskey for everyone in the bar, only to have one of the patrons refuse to drink it, not once, but twice. In response, the MMA star becomes agitated before throwing a left-handed punch at the older man’s face.
The incident led to McGregor being fined 1,000 euros after pleading guilty to a charge of assault. The incident prompted Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, to compare McGregor to boxing great Mike Tyson and the troubles he had after retirement.