Conor McGregor + the Inability to Adjust to the Inevitability of Failure
Reasons vs excuses: discuss
People were always warning me. They were talking about warning me while they were warning me.
“Should we tell him? OK…Hey, son, you know horoscopes are not real, don’t you?”
I was eight years old and was all over the mystical and hidden world of consequence, possibility and the unknown. I read horoscopes. Guides on witchcraft. I read Don Marquis and thrilled to the prospect of reincarnation as his protagonist Archy had, in a former life, been a journalist and in the cycle of the eternal return had been recycled as a cockroach.
Because: why not?
In 1970 it was all about the “why not?” and as I puttered around the house collecting a cup full of Drano, Lysol and anything from any bottle that had a skull and crossbones on it, I had had a few ideas. I mixed it up in a blue enamel coffee cup along with some crushed Excedrin and I thought “this will do it.”
Conor will not be reborn as anything other than what he always was, is and will be. Cash won’t change a man’s essential nature. Nothing will. And that’s a bleak, hard, cold fucking reality.
You see, while maybe horoscopes may have not been real, reincarnation? That just felt real to me. Real real. So much so that I was going to stand on it. That is, to be reincarnated you had to die and if you had to die to be reincarnated I was more than happy to show up both me-and-not-me on the other side of what felt like a pleasant enough life but which was not nearly as exciting as being reincarnated as a tiger. Or a snake. Or back in time, and allowing for time travel, Geronimo.
I hoisted the cup to my lips while sitting on the white tile of the tub edge, the chemical stink rising up out of the cup and playing around my nose, and had just one thought immediately pre-my journey to the other side…..what if I’m wrong?
Total 100 percent belief in anything in general, the self, in particular, can yield astounding results. History is full of it. Alexander the Great comes to mind. But history is full of it because for every Alexander the Great there’s a General George Custer who, if The Minutemen are to be believed, died with shit in his pants.
So a chasm yawns and total 100 percent crazy belief sometimes yields amazing never-before-seen things. But sometimes it also yields amazing never-before-seen things that no one wants to ever see again.
Witness: Irish combat athlete Conor McGregor.
In no version of anybody’s world does a 33-year-old plumber’s apprentice from Crumlin, Dublin become the owner of $180 million and Forbes magazine’s highest paid athlete in the world mantle, but there it is. He did and he is.
Via mixed martial arts (MMA), boxing and a two-step into the Jay Z/50 Cent, age old model of making something, imbuing it with value and then offloading that something, in this instance, whiskey, McGregor has supplemented what he made in the ring/cage with a lot more out of the ring/cage. Just in time to be reborn as a Rolls Royce driving, yacht owning, suit sporting dandy.
And sad to be selling the class-bound bit so succinctly summed up by Dave Chappelle as Rick James — “they should never have gave you niggas money!” — rather than the largesse minimizing McGregor’s troubles, it made other ones very entirely possible. Multiple sexual assault accusations, arrests, civil suits, di$mi$$als, non-sexual assaults vis a vis punching old men in the face, robbery and the one non-crime of note that sort of sums it all up: him in a state of excitation dancing on a table in a club in Ibiza with a cardboard cut-out of his face ON his face.
Money may be the root of all evil but maybe even more so for thems of us with poor impulse control and a propensity for violence. Neither of which I fault him for necessarily. Beyond the sex assault accusations, I do fault him most specifically for his systematic denial of the reality of experience which, sadly, is the earmark of an age where winners never lose, whether it’s elections, or drubbings while being bested for a second time in a row by Dustin Poirier.
And if you think this connection is a reach, the UFC cameras somehow forgot that former President Donald J. Trump was in attendance at an event where McGregor somehow forgot that prior to his ankle getting a visit from the Fairy of Karmic Leveling, he was being beaten like a rug.
…[A]s a target he’s got too much for the wolves to ignore, so how long does it all last?
His whining, keening and complaining post-fight was also matched by the desperately tendered threats to my well being by Dublin-based fighters who have invited me to have a word when next I am in Dublin. Invitations I’ve accepted since I’ve been fortunate enough to have music bring me to Dublin at least a few times.
“If you think the key to solving McGregor’s problems is beating my ass you’re welcome to…try,” has been the general line of my response. “But I guarantee you no matter how many times you beat my ass, or try, it won’t fix the fundamental flaw of a fool and his money.”
This quells it because while Conor with cash is a story that cuts all kinds of ways, Conor broke? That’s a horror movie. For him, for those cats who now depend on him and his baubles for baubles and most directly the line that class is something that cash will let you rise above.
Which is to say Conor will not be reborn as anything other than what he always was, is and will be, and cash won’t change a man’s essential nature. Nothing will. And that’s a bleak, hard, cold fucking reality.
So as he sits at a very nicely acquitted house, where he was driven in a very expensive car, that he sat in while wearing a very expensive suit and he surveys the landscape spreading in front of him…one where he doesn’t crawl out of the hole that sees him losing yet another fight, losing the love of the people when he threatens to murder his opponent’s wife who he has called a whore and first tweets and then deletes threats against the same opponent’s children it seems, $180 mil notwithstanding, a very tough place to be.
Jean-Paul Sartre tough. King Lear tough. My kingdom for a horse tough.
But what makes you you? Or in this instance him him? Without boxing or MMA, without hard times against which to sharpen his stones, Conor McGregor does what? Where? And with whom? He can’t go back, he can’t go forward, and as a target he’s got too much for the wolves to ignore, so how long does it all last?
These are not my questions. These are his. He just turned 33 years old and having his whole life in front of him I am sure, has never seemed to be as much of a curse as it does now.
But for the record: Alexander the Great died at 32 of what has widely been suspected as typhoid fever. Jesus died at 33, crucified. General George Custer, overmatched by the Cheyenne, died at 36 from a bullet to the head. With shit in his pants.
Conor McGregor soldiers on, and on the occasion of me having poured my devil’s brew down the toilet, flushing it away, and not having stepped to the other side, maybe the clouds may one day indeed part for him, as well. Until then, someone should probably ask him if he knows what we’ve sort of figured out: reincarnation is not real. Or haven’t you heard?