Ireland Puts Its Faith On McGregor By: Peter Carroll, FIGHTLAND
"It’s quite a thing to see an athlete from a niche sport breakthrough into a nation’s broader cultural consciousness. In April 2013, Ireland had yet to break the back of a crushing recession and almost out of nowhere emerged a young, brazen Dubliner.
"Winning $60,000 for his ‘Knockout of the Night’ over Marcus Brimage in Stockholm, on returning home Conor McGregor’s first ports of call were opening a bank account and informing the social welfare that he had found meaningful employment in the UFC’s Octagon.
"At 25, the John Kavanagh protégé was roughly the same age as the average Irish graduate. For many who had just finished college the only viable route to a career was immigration and there was a sense of doom and gloom around the Emerald Isle despite the economies reported upturn.
"McGregor was flashy. He waxed lyrical about frivolous purchases – a car, three piece suits, a gold watch – and his unabiding quest for success appeared to rail against society’s foreboding. He was raw, there were no airs and graces to him, but his self-sacrifice, positivity and determination had brought him to the biggest mixed martial arts stage of all."