The Irish mainstream media are still deciding if MMA is a sport, questions of whether Conor McGregor’s boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather has any sporting merit are still being batted around, but a quick walk around Dublin speaks to how passionate the Irish fans are when it comes to “The Notorious”.
Sin Nightclub has hosted several of McGregor’s after parties over the years and the Temple Bar premises has become somewhat synonymous for murals of the SBG fighter ahead of his big bouts.
In the lead-up to his polarizing boxing bout with Mayweather, the latest effigy shows McGregor standing over the defeated “Money”, as John Kavanagh, Owen Roddy and Artem Lobov watch on in amazement through the ropes of a boxing ring.
Judging by the Old County Barbers’ Facebook page, McGregor has frequented the shop in his hometown of Crumlin over the years.
In the lead up to the fight, the owners have encouraged punters to take a picture with the shutters that display McGregor’s face halved alongside Floyd Mayweather’s and to post it on their page. After the fight, the best picture will be selected, the owner of which will win a cash prize.
The placement of Sarah Bracken’s McGregor piece on Gardiner Street is interesting in itself. In his article for ESPN, Wright Thompson wrote about the Irishman inciting “a feud” by simply driving his car onto Sheriff Street earlier in his UFC tenure.
“Doubt is only removed by action,” reads one side of the electricity box. On the other side, another quote attributed to McGregor says, “Be passionate, be optimistic, be grateful”.
Sheriff Street is a five-minute walk from the location of Bracken’s colorful piece.
Untouched after arriving in the location forty-eight hours before I managed to photograph it, something tells me that the gleaming depiction would have been defaced to some degree if McGregor was an enemy of the north side of the city, as portrayed in Thompson’s article.
A north side suburb, Blanchardstown, pays tribute to McGregor’s biggest feat up until he signed on the dotted line to face Mayweather.
His victory over Eddie Alvarez saw the Dubliner become the first fighter to ever hold two UFC titles simultaneously. The piece depicting ‘The Champ Champ’ popped up shortly after the Madison Square Garden win in a skate park at the Millennium Park, which sits next to the area’s biggest landmark: The Blanchardstown Shopping Center.
Just as commuters leave Dublin, they get a reminder of McGregor's nonchalance when it comes to facing one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Written in large black font on a wall at Glen of the Downs, clearly in view from national road N11 from Dublin to Wicklow, McGregor's infamous line from the Toronto leg of the press conference tour for MayMac shouts proudly:
“F*CK THE MAYWEATHERS”