Conor McGregor Rules: 10 Outrageous Quotes and Moments from 2016
Conor McGregor became the undisputed face of the UFC in 2016 for reasons that go beyond his fighting skills.
McGregor is a modern-day version of famous professional wrestler "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, a man who wears custom suits and isn't afraid to speak his mind regarding just about anybody and anything. Whether much of McGregor's act is a "gimmick" doesn't matter to casual fight fans or even to diehards who root for him to fail. McGregor fills arenas and sells pay-per-views each time he competes.
He also made history at multiple UFC shows this year.
Per Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, the UFC 202 show headlined by McGregor vs. Nate Diaz set a new record for UFC pay-per-view buys. McGregor, the featherweight champion as of Nov. 12, then defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to win the lightweight title, making him the promotion's first simultaneous two-division champion.
McGregor backs his talk up inside the cage.
It's easy to understand, upon reviewing 10 of McGregor's wildest moments from 2016, why he's the top draw and top star in mixed martial arts. We already can't wait to see what McGregor has in mind for 2017.
McGregor, Nate Diaz and Some Coffee
McGregor's mouth probably got him into some trouble this past March.
McGregor and Nate Diaz appeared on Jane Wells' CNBC program to promote their UFC 196 bout, and it took roughly 10 seconds for McGregor to announce he was taking control of the segment and that Diaz could "bring me my coffee." Wells attempted to calm both fighters by asking them to count to 10, which caused McGregor to laugh and remark "Nate can only count to five."
The interview only improved from there.
McGregor joked that he tipped the amount of money Diaz earned from his previous fight, and he explained he was "on route" to being worth $100 million. Diaz eventually had enough of McGregor's antics and stormed away from the interview.
Diaz then shut McGregor up, for at least a minute or so, when he defeated McGregor via rear-naked choke at UFC 196.
That result proved to be a blessing for both McGregor and Diaz, as it sparked a new rivalry that led to a rematch at UFC 202 this past August.
McGregor vs. WWE
McGregor sounds similar to a World Wrestling Entertainment performer when he cuts promos on fighters such as Nate Diaz and Eddie Alvarez, and thus it made sense that a reporter asked McGregor about joining the WWE at some point down the road during a UFC 202 conference call.
McGregor, focused on avenging his loss to Diaz at the time, was not amused by the question.
"For the most part, those WWE guys are p-----s, to be honest," McGregor responded according to Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting. McGregor said Brock Lesnar, who won heavyweight titles in the WWE and the UFC, was "juiced up to the f---g eye balls" when he returned to the cage at UFC 200, and McGregor referred to CM Punk as "the other guy."
As Bleacher Report's Steven Rondina pointed out, multiple WWE talents took to Twitter to blast McGregor. Maybe, just maybe, McGregor knew exactly what he was doing in that moment, especially if he shows up at WrestleMania 33 next April.
McGregor and Diaz Flip Some Bottles
Video contains NSFW language and actions
McGregor and Diaz took the "bottle-flip" challenge that became an internet sensation earlier this year to a different level during a press event leading up to UFC 202.
Diaz made obscene gestures and used profane language while yelling at McGregor, and the featherweight champion told Diaz to be quiet in a not-so-nice way. McGregor continued to drop f-bombs as Diaz's camp walked by, and, as Mookie Alexander of Bloody Elbow wrote, Diaz throw a bottle toward McGregor.
McGregor, unsurprisingly, refused to let cooler heads prevail in this instance, as he hurled multiple bottles and cans toward Diaz and his entourage before UFC chief Dana White halted the event.
Was this incident staged between the two fighters, or was it the result of real feelings of animosity? We may never know, but we do know both men earned a ton of money from headlining UFC 202.
Diaz Should've 'Killed' McGregor
McGregor and Diaz met before UFC 202 one last time at the weigh-ins that occurred the night before the rematch. Both men offered warnings after making weight.
"He should’ve killed me when he had the chance," McGregor defiantly told Joe Rogan per Liam Williams of the Mirror. McGregor then pointed at Diaz and threatened to "kill you and your whole f-----g team" before shoving the mic from his face.
Diaz apparently wasn't intimidated by McGregor's words. "I train always hard to kill," Diaz told Rogan after McGregor stormed off the stage. "(McGregor's) already dead from the last time. It's a new guy. It’s killed or be killed again. USA, motherf-----s!"
Any performer who wants to make money in combat sports needs to study the promos McGregor and Diaz cut throughout 2016.
"I'm not surprised," Diaz shouted during his post-fight interview after he submitted McGregor at UFC 196.
McGregor didn't forget that, and he even planned a response in the months leading up his rematch vs. Diaz at UFC 202.
The second encounter between the two entertaining personalities met and even exceeded expectations. Both men landed significant blows and accumulated damage, and neither held a massive advantage on the judges' scorecards heading into the final round. McGregor earned the victory via majority decision, and he had a few choice words during his first post-fight interview.
"Surprise, surprise, motherf-----s! The king is back!" yelled McGregor to the delight of an adoring audience.
As Damon Martin of Fox Sports explained, this was no coincidence. A NSFW video released by McGregor's TheMacLife productions shows McGregor yelling that he planned to cut that exact promo "for months."
Knowledgeable fight fans weren't too surprised to learn McGregor and Diaz both faced fines from the Nevada State Athletic Commission following the famous bottle-throwing incident. While those few seconds of footage made for incredible television and may have even propelled UFC 202 to a historic buyrate, that potential melee was also a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Per Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mainia, McGregor received a $150,000 fine this past October for his involvement in the altercation with Diaz. McGregor offered a hilarious response regarding the punishment via Twitter:
"I get fined more than these bums get paid."
Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting reported on Oct. 16 the NAC actually fined McGregor $75,000 and gave the fighter 50 hours of community service. We dedicated fight fans believe McGregor offers a service to the community almost every time he is in front of a camera and a microphone.
McGregor Hates Clowns
Throughout the fall season leading up to Halloween, videos surfaced on social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook of individuals wearing creepy clown outfits allegedly chasing after would-be victims. As Hilary McGann and Lauren Said-Moorhouse of CNN explained, these supposed incidents occurred all over the world.
McGregor wasn't amused.
As Caitlyn Holroyd of The Score wrote, McGregor spoke about this craze during a Q&A session with LAD Bible in October. "I'd slap the heads off 'em," McGregor said when asked about the clowns. He continued: "I'd slap the head off 'em, pull the clown mask off, and stick it up his a--.
McGregor later explained he'd prefer to be left alone in certain situations. "Come near me, I'll slap the head off you anyway," he said. "But if you're in a clown suit, I'll slap the head off you even more so."
Trick-or-treaters approaching McGregor's house in the future should leave their clown masks at home.
This McGregor quote, as Jonathan Snowden of B/R Mag explained earlier in November, is actually from 2015:
"Any top-level athlete, it's always the same. There's always that hint of arrogance there...It's hard to be humble when you're the best," McGregor told Bleacher Report last year. "It's as simple as that. If you are surrounded by your competition and you are outworking these people, outmaneuvering these people, it's hard not to let your confidence take over. It just builds and builds and builds."
Snowden used McGregor's words in a piece published the week of the UFC 205 show headlined by McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez. The reigning featherweight champion entered Nov. 12 looking to win Alvarez's lightweight title and become the first fighter, male or female, to simultaneously hold titles in two UFC divisions.
McGregor, it turned out, wasn't only being honest when explaining his lack of humility. In a way, McGregor called his shot long before he made history.
McGregor and Madison Square Garden were made for each other.
McGregor was easily the biggest attraction at UFC press events the week before UFC 205. He seemed downright jolly during an open workout, and he even shot some hoops on the home court of the New York Knicks.
McGregor's shooting form needs some work, but that's a different topic for a different piece.
Per Mike Bohn and Abbey Subhan of MMA Junkie, McGregor kept his eyes on the prize and remained unaffected by distractions as he prepared to fight Alvarez. "Saturday night I’ll be immortal," McGregor said after he drained a basket from the top of the key. "I get the second belt, raise it up, never been done before. It means absolutely everything to me. It’s my life’s work."
McGregor's legacy will, in fact, live on for generations and as long as the UFC exists following the events of UFC 205.
McGregor made good on his word when he defeated Alvarez at UFC 205 and won a second championship.
McGregor knocked Alvarez down early into the encounter, and that proved to be a preview of things to come. Alvarez failed to offer much of a challenge other than surviving the first round, as McGregor landed a flurry of punches to finish the fight and earn the victory via referee stoppage at the 3:04 mark in the second round.
The newly crowned simultaneous champion spoke minutes after his victory, and he was as glorious and boastful as ever, per Cindy Boren of the Washington Post:
“I’ve ridiculed everyone on the roster. I just want to say from the bottom of me heart. I’d just like to take this time to apologize,” he said, adding after a pause, “To absolutely nobody! The double-champ does what the [expletive] he wants! This is what I dreamed into reality."
Dana White then presented McGregor with the lightweight championship, and McGregor placed his titles on either shoulder. "That looks good, oh that looks good," McGregor said as he looked at himself on a scoreboard monitor.
Don't expect the unapologetic double-champion to change. Truth be told, we want McGregor to be even more over-the-top in 2017.