Conor McGregor has 78,430 followers and counting on Twitter.
And in today's social day and age where popularity and fame can be gauged by how many "Likes" on Facebook or "Followers" one has on Twitter, that's a very impressive tally.
But, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight up-and-comer, Luke Barnatt, that number is deceiving because the actual amount of real people who follow "Notorious" is much lower. Indeed, Barnatt alleges that the Irishman's management team, Paradigm Sports Management, has found a creative way to artificially inflate his status.
He explains (via "The MMA Hour"):
"Paradigm is the management company that I believe that Conor McGregor is under. They have this interesting concept that they believe that your following is depicted by how many people you have on Twitter, so your whole MMA following, if you've got followers on Twitter, then obviously you're a big deal, and they find that easier to go out and get sponsorships and make you look important. So they employ this thing called Tweetbot. You pay a certain amount of money, and you get these fake followers. So they're built and they're made by a computer, and they follow certain people. If you go through the followers, the Paradigm guys, not all of them but some of them, you'll find these rival accounts that make up a lot of the percentage for people who is following. Yeah, it makes them look like they're a big deal, it makes them look like they've got lots of fans, and it makes them look important."
Holding his own with 12,847 followers, Barnatt says he isn't jealous of McGregor and actually thinks he's a cool guy. It's just the fact that "Notorious" is calling out people who are coming off losses and not in his division that irritates him.
"I'm not jealous of Conor, he's a cool guy. I've met him a few times. But, I just think if you want to be fake and you pretend like you're a big deal by getting all of these followers then calling out people like Diego Sanchez is weak, and things like that start to irritate me. If you're going to call somebody out, for one you call somebody out in your own weight division, and number two, you call somebody out who is coming off of a win. You don't call somebody out who's a loser. What's the point in that? It don't make much sense in my eyes."
McGregor has made it a habit to call out fighters on Twitter, making a name for himself not only for his fight style, but for channeling his inner-Chael Sonnen and bashing every possible opponent he can muster.
Chief among them is Sanchez, whom McGregor recently challenged to a 170-pound fight once he is cleared to return to action following a ACL surgery. It's call-outs such as these that irritate "Bigslow," who says McGregor needs to keep it real and worry about fighters in his own division.
And perhaps get some real Twitter followers while he's at it.