SPANISH HARLEM – I have been a boxing fan since I can remember because my dad loved boxing. Now that I think about it, it was my first introduction to sports. He watched any and every fight; it didn’t matter if the fight was on paid channels or local access. As I grew up around boxing, I became a fan myself. I started to know names of the top fighters, as well as the up-and-comers.
Boxing was awesome in the early 80’s and 90’s, the best fighters weren’t afraid to lose and fought whoever was the next guy up. Then something happened, I assume it was the greed but most fighters started protecting themselves. Some fighters wanted to remain champions so they could earn a better income on fights, which meant that they weren’t necessarily looking for the best fight but the best fight they could win. They stopped caring about the fans; they stopped giving the fans the best fights.
Let me be clear, fighters don’t make a great living because all it takes is one punch or one fight to destroy everything they worked so hard to accomplish. That can be scary but in the end, if you beat the best than you can make a lot of money and make history in the process.
This leads me to Conor McGregor of the UFC. Now I won’t sit here and say I love the UFC over boxing because that would be untrue. I still love boxing but I do believe it is a dying sport and not because of the UFC but because of the issues I discussed above. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the UFC either because I haven’t watched it often enough to know if I’m all in but UFC fans are growing exponentially and sooner rather than later, MMA is will be the choice of most fans when it comes to watching athletes fight. While some will say that Ronda Rousey helped make the UFC mainstream, Conor McGregor is making the sport just as appealing.
This past Saturday, I saw UFC 205 but manly I watched to see Conor McGregor. The guy is a main attraction in a growing sport and has dominated headlines when he fights. He will fight anybody, in any weight class, even if the guy is bigger and stronger, as we saw when he fought Nate Diaz (UFC 196) on short notice. He is not a big guy, at only 5’9 but he has already fought in three different weight classes in the last 2 years. But that isn’t the real reason people care, they care because he can talk a good game and back it. We haven’t seen someone troll fans and fighters alike this good since Floyd Mayweather Jr. And guess what… they are now talking smack to each other (How great is that?). Muhammad Ali would be proud!
For every win that McGregor amasses, the more his legend will grow and even though I’m not a UFC fan yet, I loved watching McGregor fight and beat Eddie Alvarez this weekend. His introduction and post-fight interviews are great theater. The more I see the more I like and even though I’m not as familiar with the other fighters; I’m certainly a fan of Conor McGregor.