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.
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.
.@UFC heavyweight title challenger @Francis_Ngannou will open a (-160) betting favorite over the champion, @StipeMiocicufc (+130), according to @FightOdds of https://t.co/CgDO4KdaH3 https://t.co/1hmkq1kQ7G via @bokamotoESPN @espn pic.twitter.com/KZl0UbnMzl— MMAOddsBreaker (@MMAOddsBreaker) December 5, 2017
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.
Cooper tells us that Ngannou purposely tried to not hurt his sparring partners, but they ultimately had trouble maintaining a healthy stable for him. Says Ngannou’s power is nothing like he’s ever seen. -@MMAjunkieRadio https://t.co/ZBV83d0UbE— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) December 4, 2017
This is a good shout.
Forgive my self-indulgence, but seeing this is another reminder that history parodies itself brutally in combat sports.— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) December 3, 2017
(Liston vs. Patterson, 1962 and Ngannou vs. Overeem, #UFC218) pic.twitter.com/sD2g0jEjFC
Everything about this is timeless:
The Overeem knockout memes are never going to go away. This T-shirt is pure art:
Alistair overeem: no damage and all healthy thankfully... only when i close my eyes, i now see dantes inferno— Doug Blue (@TheDougBlue) December 4, 2017
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.
Your the toughest son of bitch I ever fought @Justin_Gaethje , takes two to tango brother .. We Won !!!— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) December 3, 2017
Max Holloway is awesome.
I went back and watched Aldo-Holloway I. I found a detail pulled off by Holloway between that fight and Saturday's rematch that amazed me.— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) December 4, 2017
I'll share it on the Monday Morning Analyst. Holloway is brilliant.
you giving away my secrets again brother? you should charge and give me a cut. ill take cash or cupcakes https://t.co/TlNUwSHP7E— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 4, 2017
Remember a couple months ago when @BlessedMMA was on #themmahour? At the end of the intv he said he’d come back on the show on Dec. 4, his bday, to talk about his win at 218. Well, I got this unsolicited text from him earlier this AM. The 145 champ is a special kinda guy. pic.twitter.com/zqAbMfCmMG— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 3, 2017
Max and his son are adorable.
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.
Hence why I’ll never wear @Reebok again and I don’t know why any Fighter would wear that stuff when they don’t have to.— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) December 4, 2017
My last fight nearly 8 years ago I made 6 times what they both made. On an undercard. Not as a top ten fighter. On Spike. https://t.co/P7oY8XB66Y
Eating Doritos between grappling matches. Gordon Ryan is a monster.
I’m sitting matside for EBI. Gordon Ryan out here yawning and eating Doritos between matches, really just not giving a single fuck.— Andre Fili (@TouchyFili) December 4, 2017
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.
So Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira met up at the hospital to take a picture and it immediately reminded of the one Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones took. Two all time classic wars. Unbelievable respect to the fighters for putting it all out there.https://t.co/0zNuuiAr7O pic.twitter.com/LWpkuqAwdk— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) December 3, 2017
Did you see this guy pretending to “play” UFC 218 in order to stream it for free? Yeah, that’s a lawsuit incoming:
How has he pretended to play a ufc fight on stream to avoid getting copyrighted LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL pic.twitter.com/I4ykqwqrTA— Aaron (@TheRealSMA) December 3, 2017
Rachel Ostovich-Berdon won her last UFC fight by armbar, and also she has some powerful quads:
Slips, Rips, KO Clips
Muay Thai left hook knockout
Another contender for KO of the week https://t.co/i4myWNDKss— MEGATON (@BasedDongeezus) December 5, 2017
That’s a classic faceplant:
faceplanted— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) December 2, 2017
great KO by Senmanee (Emei Legend) pic.twitter.com/SFG5Zg7SFg
Can’t ignore a gogoplata win!
Second career win via gogoplata from muay thai world champion Grigory Popov(12-1). @ufc he is ready to bring more highlight reel finishes to the octagon @seanshelby @Mickmaynard2 @dannyrube pic.twitter.com/cBTSGLqTVb— Sayat 萨亚特 (@sayatmma) December 2, 2017
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
- The UFC need to avoid their typical missteps if Francis Ngannou is to achieve his potential as a crossover superstar
- Facebook already spent 600 million on a cricket streaming deal, and they reportedly want to spend a couple billion more on sports streaming rights. Could the UFC be next? Their broadcasting package fall well within that price range.
- What’s next for Jose Aldo?
Podcasts and Video
The MMA Hour
The Monday Morning Analyst Holloway said he should charge for
UFC 218 Highlights
The future is bright. Or snowy. Or whatever the AI turns it into.