Conor McGregor is losing fans in Ireland
LAS VEGAS — While Conor McGregor still enjoys huge support from his countrymen, there is a significant and growing segment of Irish society that has been turned off by his over-the-top, outrageous and sometimes violent antics.
Myles Price is a former teammate of McGregor. In the early part of this decade Price was regarded as the best lightweight in Ireland, while McGregor was seeking to rise through the ranks. Price remembers McGregor as being a cantankerous colleague who reacted poorly to either sparring defeats or criticism.
Yet the development of McGregor’s bombastic persona and wild outbursts in the lead-up to his UFC 229 clash with Khabib Nurmagomedov have not just caused Price to shake his head, but also to grow concerned about the message being portrayed to young male members of the Irish working class.
“It is very dangerous,” Price, who will fight in the surging Bellator organization early next year, told USA TODAY Sports. “It is tough growing up in Ireland and a lot of young lads look up to Conor’s behavior as the way to fix their problems.
“Conor is quite narcissistic, he cares about materialistic things and he wants more and more and more. Conor does his thing for marketing reasons. But if you act like Conor, and you don’t have that fighting ability and that knockout power, you are going to get yourself in trouble. Conor is going to have this massive stint of popularity and fame, but all those things fade eventually when you forget about your morals.”
Price sparred with McGregor before the former two-weight champion’s entry into the UFC in 2014, before ultimately leaving the SBG training group led by coach John Kavanugh. He still has friends on the team but never really got along with McGregor and says part of the reason for his departure was that McGregor was surrounded by “yes men”, a situation he believes is even more pronounced now.
McGregor quickly realized upon entering the UFC in 2013 that he could gain a huge following — and make himself a lot of money — with behavior primarily aimed at attracting attention by any means.
His methods are brash and inflammatory, straight from the Floyd Mayweather playbook, and don’t sit well with many in Ireland. When McGregor threw a dolly at a bus window carrying Nurmagomedov earlier this year and attracted police attention, his reputation fell further.
“There are a lot of people in Ireland that would like to see Khabib win,” Price added. “A lot of people think like me, that he is not really good for Ireland because of the way he goes on and he makes us look bad. There are plenty in Ireland who want to see Conor get a little bit of humble pie.
“The Irish fans are fantastic and the Irish people are beautiful people, very respectful, very humble and down to earth and just very passionate. Conor is almost like the exception.”
In an intriguing twist, Price is now training as part of the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, Calif., where Nurmagomedov bases his camps.
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