It’s not surprising, given Conor McGregor’s charisma, wealth and fame, that his thuggish, dangerous and perhaps criminal behavior of April 5 is being justified and even defended in some quarters.
“If you even slightly knew @TheNotoriousMMA (McGregor’s Twitter handle) life story you would quickly understand the man takes no crap from anyone. I respect CM a lot,” one fan tweeted.
“… Without (McGregor) the UFC would not exist,” tweeted another. “(UFC President) Dana White should respect him much more and thank him for what Conor has given to the sport.”
Enter White himself, who initially called McGregor’s behavior – smashing a bus window with a dolly, injuring fighters Michael Chiesa and Albuquerque’s Ray Borg – “criminal” and “disgusting.” Chiesa suffered facial cuts, Borg took glass fragments in his left eye, and both were ruled unable to fight last Saturday on UFC 223.
“At the end of the day,” White said on Monday, “there’s a lot worse that goes on in all the other sports, so I’ll take a dolly through a window any day.”
Albuquerque MMA fighter Michelle Waterson, for one, isn’t buying the Conor-being-Conor, boys-will-be-boys noise.
“If we just say it’s just Conor being Conor, that’s kind of like giving a kid throwing a tantrum what they want,” said Waterson, who will fight Cortney Casey tonight in Phoenix, in a phone interview with the Journal. “… It sends the message that if we give him what he wants, that this is what you have to do in order to make money.
“So, to other fighters, to the public, to the kids that are watching MMA, that’s the message they’re going to get.”
In the McGregor aftermath, Borg was relentlessly trolled on Twitter – accused of faking his eye injury because a) he knew he would be unable to make weight for his fight with Brandon Moreno and/or b) he planned to sue McGregor and make a bundle of cash without having to fight.
“You’re not fooling anyone bro,” one skeptic tweeted. ” You knew you’d get paid without having to fight. You took the easy way out and started waving your ‘victim card.'”
To Albuquerque’s Carlos Condit, the abuse endured by Borg, his Jackson-Wink teammate, is more disturbing than the McGregor incident itself.
“People get into shenanigans, and it is what it is,” said Condit, who will face Brazil’s Alex Oliveira on tonight’s card. “I really don’t want to speak to that. I just want to talk about how crappy it is that these guys (Borg and Chiesa) didn’t get to fight.
“People are just stupid.”
The notion that Borg faked his injury, Condit said, is ridiculous.
“Ray is not that guy,” he said. “Ray wanted to fight.”
Waterson, who also trains at Jackson-Wink, agreed.
“I know Ray personally, and I know how passionate he is about fighting,” she said. “… So, people that are on the internet talking about this crap, that’s all it is. It’s just talk and they’ve never lived a moment in his shoes. All they can do is talk.”
On Tuesday, the UFC announced that Borg-Moreno has been rescheduled for May 19 in Santiago, Chile.
THE WEIGH-IN: Condit and Waterson both made weight for their fights tonight.
Condit weighed in at 171 pounds, an allowable pound over the welterweight limit, as did Oliveira.
Waterson and Casey each weighed in at the strawweight limit of 115 pounds.
Both the Albuquerqueans’ fights are on tonight’s main card, to be televised on Fox, starting at 6 p.m.