Conor McGregor: Serial Predator or Serial Victim?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Conor McGregor is accused of a heinous offense in the midst of the UFC propping him up front and center with their massive marketing machine.

No, this isn’t a throwback to the build-up of UFC 246 when McGregor was being investigated for a pair of alleged sexual assaults in his home country of Ireland. 

Related: Conor McGregor Faces Serious Charges From NBA Game 4 Incident

Nor is it a retread of Conor McGregor’s yacht guest claiming to have been kicked and punched by the former two-division champion before jumping into the Mediterranean Sea out of fear for her life. 

Yesterday’s news of a woman alleging that McGregor “violently” raped her in a men’s room at Miami’s Kaseya Center after Game 4 of the NBA Finals was met with a sense of deja vu. Even though the details of this incident, which is currently under investigation by the Miami Police Department and the NBA, are far more detailed and disturbing than what we’ve heard before, it feels uncomfortably familiar.

For those that will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of scattered news articles in a Google search, just check his Wikipedia page. There is a lengthy section devoted entirely to the Irish superstar’s “controversies.”

From the aforementioned allegations to punching a man in a Dublin pub for refusing to drink a shot of his Proper 12 whiskey, an indecent exposure arrest in France, and supposedly breaking the nose of an Italian musician, Conor McGregor is just as infamous for bad behavior as he is famous for his competitive accolades. 

Of course, to be fair we have to keep in mind that McGregor has yet to be charged in the Miami incident, the other past sex-related offenses, or several of his other well-publicized misadventures. So, we don’t want to assume guilt here. But that leaves us with some serious questions to consider. 

So why does this keep happening to Conor McGregor?  How does someone of his stature continually find himself in this position? Time after time, someone points to him as the culprit in some sort of intolerable violence and he denies it while at least hinting at being targeted by bad actors looking for some sort of easy come-up.

The premise of a celebrated entertainer dealing with false accusations from clout chasers isn’t far-fetched. Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks missed the traditional route to the NFL, including a football scholarship to the University of South Carolina, due to a rape conviction that was overturned when his accuser admitted to fabricating the story a decade later.

Conor McGregor record: 22-6 (19 KO, 1 submission)

If a standout high school football player can find himself on the wrong side of a lie, certainly a world-famous prize fighter and business mogul with a reported net worth of $43 million can be as well. 

conor mcgregor
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

But even with that presumption of innocence, it paints a worrying picture of the choices that Conor McGregor makes. 

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being a celebrity requires that ounce of prevention in regard to the places you go, the people you’re around, and the situations you put yourself in. That means adjusting your actions to avoid the pitfalls that await.

Tupac Shakur, Aaron Hernandez, Phil Spector, PnB Rock, Jayson Williams, and Amy Locane all have one thing in common. They are cases of celebrities who squandered their potential, wasted their talents, and ruined lives due to poor decision-making. Conor McGregor is dangerously close to adding his name to that list. 

Another important question to ask is how will the UFC handle the continued negative publicity that surrounds its biggest cash cow. If history is any indication, the company will likely turn a blind eye, hide behind the standard public relations statement it released yesterday, and proceed as usual. 

The response to Conor McGregor’s attacking the bus filled with fighters ahead of UFC 223 which led to injuries and a no-contest plea for disorderly conduct was using footage of the felony to advertise his main event grudge match with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Even after the heated build-up that boiled over into a post-fight brawl, minutes later UFC President Dana White expressed no regret for the promotion’s part in the melee. 

When questioned about the alleged sexual assault investigations before UFC 246, White and McGregor’s opponent Donald Cerrone, shielded him from publicly addressing the situation. Instead, he was given the platform of broadcast partner ESPN to express himself.

conor mcgregor
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Media members who questioned the inclusion of convicted domestic abuser and ex-NFL star Greg Hardy were met with retaliation. White himself faced no professional repercussions for the physical altercation with his wife that took place this past New Year’s Eve.

But at what point is it no longer worth the trouble for the UFC?

You could look at the pay-per-view success of UFC 229 as some sort of pragmatic justification for the promotional tactics. Perhaps the lure of a Pro Bowl-worthy NFL star being part of the ESPN debut of the MMA brand standard was too tempting to allow moral dilemmas into the thought process. And maybe there is truth to White’s claim that punishing him was ruled out for the potential damage it would do to the company.

Even though Conor McGregor is starring in the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, his proposed bout with opposing coach Michael Chandler is only penciled in at the moment. In fact, “The Notorious” hasn’t even reentered the USADA testing pool yet and would need an exemption from the standard protocols before he’s eligible to fight this year.

Since that 2018 loss to Nurmagomeddov, McGregor has appeared in the Octagon just three times and only achieved victory once. Much like when Hardy was finally cut loose after repeated failures in the cage and a decreased level of interest in his second professional athletic endeavor,  it’s beginning to look like the surefire box-office success of the brash Irishman has diminishing returns. 

Unlike in the past when UFC officials only had to answer to themselves, thanks to the recent WWE merger it’s a publicly traded company now. Shareholders may find the constant negative press is no longer worth whatever reward comes with it. This is especially true when 2022, a year that McGregor didn’t compete, proved to be the most profitable year in its 30-year history.

At worst, he’s a serial predator who has so far eluded true consequences for his actions. At best he’s a man that habitually puts himself in compromising positions that could jeopardize his future.

Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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