The UFC won’t punish Conor McGregor, and the legal system seems content to take his money but not much else. Hypocrisy aside, are we really upset about it, if we still get the fights we want in the end? Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.
* * * *
Downes: This week, Ben, I have 19th century transcendentalist preacher Theodore Parker on my mind. Why? Because the original champ-champ, Conor McGregor, was in a Brooklyn courtroom to hear his punishment for the handtruck toss heard ’round the world.
The final punishment was five days of community service, three days of anger management classes, and restitution paid to the victims of the attack. When MMAjunkie contacted Dana White to see if McGregor would face any additional punishment, the UFC president said, “Conor has faced a lot of repercussions. Conor has lost a lot of money and a lot of time. Conor and I are good. We’re good.”
>Dana White says Conor McGregor 'has faced a lot of repercussions' in wake of plea deal
Well that settles it. I’m sure that this is the normal punishment someone receives for vandalizing a bus and causing a couple people to go to the hospital. I’m sure someone like you would prefer more draconian measures, but wouldn’t that mean “Mystic Mac” would sit on the shelf even longer? I do not pretend to know the arc of the moral universe, but surely it bends toward justice?
Fowlkes: I don’t mind telling you that I’m torn on this one, Danny.
On one hand, pretty much no other fighter could do any of this and have the notoriously vengeful UFC president shrug his shoulders and say, “Ah, we’re cool.”
On the other hand, isn’t this the outcome we all really want, if we’re being honest? We don’t want to see McGregor in jail, and we definitely don’t want to see him on the sidelines of the UFC any more than we already have. We want to see the man fight, and soon. Now that he’ll have to shell out some of that “Diddy bread” to the fellow fighters who got caught in his crossfire, he might have even more reason to want to get back to business.
The only downside here is that we’re reminded, again, that all are not equal before the law. If a homeless man picks up a hand truck on the streets of New York and hurls it through the window of a bus full of tourists, that man’s feet won’t touch pavement again for a good long while. And if Ray Borg had shattered glass into McGregor’s eye rather than the other way around, he’d have been out of a job before the mess even got cleaned up.
McGregor is rich, and he brings a lot of money to the UFC, so he gets to play by different rules. That sucks, but it’s the reality. I doubt any of us can say we’re surprised.
>Daily Debate results: Was Conor McGregor's plea deal a joke? Most fans think so
What I wonder, though, is whether all of this has made any sort of impact on McGregor. Did he come close enough to throwing his prime fighting years away to learn that even the “Notorious” one needs to rein it in? Or did this whole incident just confirm for him that he can do anything he wants and still be protected by the money he has made or will make?
Downes: If you’re asking me what anger management classes, community service and a brush with the criminal justice system will teach Conor McGregor, I think we both know the answer: They’ll do nuttin’.
Whether it’s vandalizing property, jumping into a Bellator cage, or showing up chronically late for press conferences, McGregor has never faced any severe consequences. He does what he wants, when he wants. And as long as he can make a lot of people rich, he’ll continue to do it. It’s no different than any other famous entertainer; he’s just the first in MMA.
He may have lost a lot of time and money, but McGregor has a surplus of both those things. He’s one of the few fighters who knows his worth and is willing to hold the UFC over a barrel to get what he wants. The light punishment certainly increases the chances of seeing McGregor in the octagon, but I don’t believe the events of UFC 223 delayed his return. He has all the leverage, and he’ll make his move when he sees fit.
It seems like we have another one of these “turning point” moments every couple of months with McGregor. Everyone is waiting for the part in the VH1 “Behind the Music”-style documentary where the dramatic music plays and the narrator says, “And that’s when it all came crashing down.”
Do you think we are any closer to that day? Will it ever come? Every fighter ages and the game passes them by, but McGregor is 30. Don’t you think it’s going to get worse before it gets better?
Fowlkes: I’d hate to see what worse looks like, but I see your point. There’s a part of me that hopes he’ll hate the act of writing Michael Chiesa a check so much that it will straighten him out, but I also know I’m probably kidding myself. After all, the Nevada State Athletic Commission took a chunk of his money for throwing Monster cans at Nate Diaz, and that didn’t exactly change his whole perspective. Why should this be different?
Again, though, the question I ask myself is whether we’d really want to see a different outcome. McGregor is the biggest star in the sport, and right now there are a wealth of potentially awesome fights for him. The unequal treatment irks me, but I can’t act like I’m not hyped about the idea of McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title.
>Khabib Nurmagomedov's plan for Conor McGregor is to 'change his face ... his mind, too'
Justice be damned, give me that fight!
Still, when I see McGregor flexing his power to get out of trouble he caused for himself, I can’t help but wonder what life looks like in the alternate universe where he actually uses his influence for something good.
Imagine if, instead of leveraging his fame and earning potential to get away with harming other fighters, he actually helped them. Imagine if he did something good for the sport, instead of just seeing how absurd he can be without facing any real repercussions?
Yeah, I know it’s not going to happen. But what if, Danny? And just think of how many Versace robes he could buy with the money he’d save in legal fees.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.
Source : https://mmajunkie.com/2018/07/trading-shots-conor-mcgregor-getting-off-easy-bus-attack-fan-reaction