Conor McGregor stirred up some beef earlier this week when he called respected Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi a “twerp” for predicting UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway would beat “Notorious” in a rematch.
Remember, McGregor defeated Holloway via unanimous decision back in 2013.
While Zahabi was giving his honest opinion on a reboot between McGregor and “Blessed,” the Irish superstar took immediate offense and tried to belittle Zahabi for cutting his own professional MMA career short in favor of “punching a clock.”
Zahabi has been quiet about the unexpected clash up until now. In a recent Ask Me Anything session, the famed MMA head coach discussed why he hasn’t responded to McGregor directly.
“There was nothing personal,” Zahabi explained. “The reason why I didn’t respond to McGregor (on twitter) is he got personal, and I don’t do that.”
At first, Zahabi didn’t even know McGregor’s tweet was about him.
“I kind of glanced over, then I realized it was about me, and realized he’s insulting me,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘hey the double champ watches my podcast! That’s amazing! How great is that? I’m gonna give Conor McGregor a shoutout on my podcast.’
“Then somebody pointed out to me, ‘no, it was regards to an article that came out... about me picking Max Holloway over Conor McGregor’ That’s why Conor got upset and went to twitter. So I thought to myself, ‘Oh, he doesn’t listen to my podcast. Too bad.’
“But then I realized, ‘hey, he talked about the dorms. That article doesn’t talk about the dorms!’” he continued. “If he knows about the dorms, he’s listened to this podcast. So I want to give a shoutout to Conor. Thank you for supporting this channel. I really appreciate you listening to this, and I want to let you know it was nothing personal.”
Zahabi, who is best known for training the likes of former UFC champion and all-time MMA great Georges St-Pierre, also took the time to address McGregor’s comments about him being “afraid” to fight himself.
“Conor McGregor recently tweeted at me and said ‘look, why don’t you fight?’ Well, here’s my answer to you,” Zahabi said. “I was fighting at 145 as an amateur. I went to the university and got a degree. Why? Because there was no money in MMA.
“I had friends like Georges St-Pierre fighting in there, David Loiseau, and they were not making big bucks. Early on, they were making very little,” he said. “That lifestyle isn’t for everybody. I went to school and got an education.
“Some people out there had such a passion for fighting, they love it so much they didn’t care. I wasn’t one of those guys. I love martial arts to that level, and I will do martial arts every day whether I’m making money with it or not, but some people love fighting so much that they’re willing to give up their education, their business, their work, their whatnot.
“That’s why I have so much respect for Iaquinta. Because Iaquinta said, ‘I’m not fighting for this amount. I’m gonna go into real restate, I could make more money here.’ That’s what I did. I created businesses.”
McGregor, who is arguably the flashiest fighter in MMA today, also took a shot at Zahabi for punching a clock for a living. Zahabi, who owns multiple businesses outside of coaching at Tristar, made it clear that he’s on his own time.
“By the way, I don’t punch clocks, okay,” he said. “Not that I have anything against that, but I’m not. I work for myself. I have several businesses that I own and run. So that’s just a little update for Mr. McGregor, who’s ill-informed.
“I’m far from being poor. I don’t own a Lamborghini, but I don’t have any interest in owning a Lamborghini. I don’t have an interest in fine suits or jewelry. These are not the kinds of things that interests me.”