Taken at face value, Conor McGregor simply does not want to be told what to do and when to do it. However, beyond the potential labor issues that McGregor may be highlighting (lack of a union, status as an independent contractor, etc. all good issues to discuss another day), the Irishman cites an important issue that perhaps only elite, top level fighters can identify with, media distractions.
An apt comparison here is with the one and only Ronda Rousey. Both her and McGregor are comparable in star power and their ability to transcend MMA. Rousey was the unstoppable freight train, the “most dominant female athlete ever,” and the baddest woman on the planet.
Enter media circus, personal issues exacerbated by said media, and we got a distracted, ill prepared Rousey at UFC 193. Her opponent, Holly Holm, trained in the dark, and she delivered a perfect performance. In order to win at the highest level, fighters need excellent preparation, coaching, and training. Easier done outside the spotlight.
That being said, part of being an elite athlete and a UFC champion is the ability to handle media obligations and training while still putting out quality performances and wins. Rousey (and others) did not lose simply because of the media, although the distractions were a factor.
McGregor is realizing the challenging task that faces him. In a world gone soft, Nate Diaz is a very hard man. He took McGregor’s best left hand repeatedly and seemingly didn’t care, blood pouring from his face even as he sank in the deciding rear naked choke.
McGregor wants to turn the noise down a little bit and focus on why he is here in the first place, fighting, which may be the only way he continues to be successful.
So, does McGregor have a fair point, or is he trying to have his cake and eat it too?
* Conor McGregor Tells His Full Side Of The Story
* Dana White Tells His Full Side Of The Story
* Dana White Assures The MMA World That He Is In Charge (Editorial)
* Does Conor McGregor Have A Point? (Editorial)