Monday, May 17, 2021

UFC 246 Press Conference – What did we learn?

To be honest, not a great deal, this was without a doubt one of the dullest press conferences I have ever seen. This is mostly down the apparent change in character that we have seen from Conor McGregor as of late, a statement that he denied in the conference itself.

He alluded to the fact that we all grow and change over time, and that he is just real and will adapt to the opponent and the circumstances. When the Notorious one was asked about his apparent change in character, he told media “like the UFC slogan I am as real as it gets”.

I am willing to take him at his word on this, I was not expecting a brash war of words when it came to Donald Cerrone, it does seem as though there is a mutual respect between the two men which is quite refreshing if not a little dull.

A McGregor Press Conference historically has been a real spectacle, the latest instalment seemed subdued by comparison

Cowboy looked his usual relaxed nonchalant self, although arguably won the outfit competition, which is usually tough going against the flamboyant Irish mega star. McGregor appeared in a very nice if a little unremarkable suit no doubt from his August McGregor collection.

We must remember that not long ago it was fur coats paying homage to smoking Joe Frazier and custom suits with profanity laced pin stripes. At this press conference rather than McGregor wearing anything outlandish, it was Cerrone who came out dressed to impress in a black python jacket, rattle snake hat and a belt buckle that you could eat a steak off – round one Cerrone.

Outfit of the press conference goes to Cerrone

While I did enjoy some of the conference, and I hate to go against this new version of a respectful reasonable McGregor but it’s just not that entertaining is it. While I quite enjoyed McGregor’s demeanour and the quote that ‘blood will be spilled, just no bad blood’ will no doubt make a great sound bite.

However I thought that the point of these press events was to stir things up and get some hype going for the fight. Without a little bit of animosity it just becomes two fighters answering questions that we already know the answer to. I am not sure how many different ways they can phrase the same question asking how the fighter feels about the upcoming fight and if they are confident or not.

I am still eagerly awaiting the day a fighter responds by saying they have had the worst camp of their career and are woefully under prepared which will lead to certain defeat on Saturday night.

Now this is a McGregor production, people will watch this fight but it will not be based off that press conference. Don’t get me wrong I do think that there is room for fights when the opponents have a level of respect, those fights are often very good, the press conferences as we just found out leave a little to be desired. 

McGregor made his name throwing bottles, making predictions and making enemies to feud with in the octagon, I hope those days are not gone. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at one of McGregor’s press conferences when he was opposite Nate Diaz, it was fun, the two went back and forth, the microphones didn’t work, it had all the elements. Previous press conferences have had fighters trash talking, lots of posing and posturing that you know isn’t going anywhere but it builds the anticipation for the moment that they close the cage door.

Sometime when things have gotten out of hand people like to say that it is bad for the sport, I argue that for better or worse those controversial moments get more eyes on the sport, which sells more PPV’s, which is in fact good for the sport.

The bottom line is that the press conference is meant to garner attention to sell more PPV’s than they would otherwise. People will buy this fight, it’s McGregor I imagine the numbers will be quite good, but did they sell the fight to anyone who watched that wasn’t already going to buy the fight, I think the answer to that is no, so in that respect, Cerrone’s snake skin jacket aside this press conference was a real dud.

More on my predictions for the fight in this related article.

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Alex Green
Long suffering New York Jets fan, avid MMA viewer, been watching it since people still thought Ken Shamrock was quite good.

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