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Midnight Mania! ‘Conor McGregor: Notorious’ director says UFC champ needs to win back fans

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Conor McGregor After-Fight Party And Wynn Nightlife Residency Debut, Encore Beach Club At Night In Wynn Las Vegas Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Wynn Nightlife

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

I had the opportunity last week to interview Gavin Fitzgerald, the director of the documentary “Notorious”, which is out now. It’s a fantastic look at the transformation Conor has gone through. The documentary includes footage of Conor before he even got into the UFC, when he had no money, and lived in his parent’s house with his girlfriend Dee Devlin. It’s an incredible watch; as someone who has been observing McGregor’s star rise, almost inexorably, from a brash newcomer to double UFC champion, it’s a little surreal seeing an early, broke McGregor talk enthusiastically about getting into the UFC.

The interview starts at the hour and four minute (1:04:00) mark:

Gavin spilled the goods on first meeting Conor and hearing him talk about “watching gorillas on the nature channel and observing their movements”, what McGregor is like off camera (which the documentary does a great job of capturing), whether McGregor scripts any of his press conference material, what it was meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the moment he eventually realized Conor was going to knock out Jose Aldo.

He also gave his take on McGregor’s recent troubles, with the Bellator 187 slapping and shoving incidents, to apparently punching Irish mobsters in a bar. While he admitted he knows no more about the recent incidents than anyone else, he did think Dana White’s comments about Conor needing to find motivation again were insightful.

It’s kind of unfortunate, like from, he’s making bad press headlines at the moment, in conjunction with the film. I guess he’s probably going through something, but, you know, I think Dana made a good comment, he did, about Conor, and him waking up making 100 million in the bank account, and him finding that drive to fight again, you know? I guess that’s unprecedented, you know? Like, he went into this game for a knock and a few quid, as he said, and now he’s absolutely loaded. I mean, it’s, yeah. I just hope it doesn’t get any worse. I don’t know much more than anyone else about recent events, but I hope he gets his focus back.

I think the best thing for him is fighting, you know? I think at the moment, he’s only 29, he’s a lot to prove, a lot of records to break still. I mean, don’t forget, he’s already won two belts, he could easily win a third, so, there’s so much he can achieve still. And I’m sure he will.

I think he’ll win the fans back, because he has some of that to do. I think he has a lot of people who are turning, you know? So I think he needs to win them back, and the best way for him to do that is to get back fighting, and yeah, to become focused again.

I asked Gavin about the last time Conor had an extended break, when he tore his ACL in his last fight with Max Holloway. Gavin said that Conor’s fame has increased exponentially since then, so the situations are difficult to compare.

Back then, there weren’t as many cameras around him, you know? Like his stardom now is out of control, especially in Ireland. He can’t go anywhere without everyone knowing about it. I think he might have gone through a dark period after his first ACL surgery as well. But, like you said, he found his focus after that, and came back better than ever... I think the best thing for him is to get a goal in mind and get a fight lined up.

Seriously, watch “Notorious” if you get a chance- now available on DVD, digital and On Demand. Amazing inside look at Conor McGregor’s rise.


Insomnia

Francis Ngannou will open as a betting favorite over champion Stipe Miocic. Ngannou has won all six of his UFC fights via stoppage, the past four in the first round. Stipe has stopped his past five opponents, the last four in the first round as well. This, my Maniacs, is the most excited I’ve been for a heavyweight championship fight in a long time. If Stipe wins, he sets the all-time record for UFC heavyweight title defenses. If Ngannou wins, a new superstar is born.

Ngannou isn’t shy about calling his shot, either:

I do wonder, questionable power punching test aside, whether Ngannou is the UFC’s hardest hitter ever.

This is a good shout.

Everything about this is timeless:

The Overeem knockout memes are never going to go away. This T-shirt is pure art:

Frankie Edgar and Kelvin Gastelum both liked this portrait of the newly crowned King of Violence, Eddie Alvarez.

Alvarez and Gaethje had nothing but respect for each other.

Poirier vs. Alvarez is the fight to make.

Max Holloway is awesome.

Max and his son are adorable.

The @blessedmma Era continues. #AndStill #UFC218

A post shared by Mike Bohn (@mikebohnmma) on

That Korean military duty...

Nate Quarry says he made 6 times more than Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje made (combined) for Reebok sponsorship money 8 years ago. They made $7,500 combined, meaning Quarry made $45,000 for a free fight on Spike TV. It’s truly insane how much revenue the Reebok deal stole from the fighters, without any of their input.

Eating Doritos between grappling matches. Gordon Ryan is a monster.

Canelo Alvarez seems to spend his time riding lion-horses these days.

Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira was the best fight of UFC 218, one of those battles so jaw-droppingly intense it’s like catching lightning in a bottle.

Did you see this guy pretending to “play” UFC 218 in order to stream it for free? Yeah, that’s a lawsuit incoming:

Rachel Ostovich-Berdon won her last UFC fight by armbar, and also she has some powerful quads:

Hardwork always pays off.

A post shared by Rachael Ostovich (@rachaelostovich125) on


Slips, Rips, KO Clips

Muay Thai left hook knockout

That’s a classic faceplant:

Can’t ignore a gogoplata win!

The open air is what they are afraid of, but the UFC has to make this happen sooner or later:


Good Reads and Quick Hits


Podcasts and Video

The MMA Hour

The Monday Morning Analyst Holloway said he should charge for

UFC 218 Highlights

Follow MMA Mania on Youtube!


Random Land

The future is bright. Or snowy. Or whatever the AI turns it into.

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality