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Morning Report: Anthony Smith on Conor McGregor’s pre-fight injury talk: ‘His excuses are very invalid to me’

UFC 261 Weigh-in Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Earlier this month, Conor McGregor suffered a gruesome defeat to Dustin Poirier in their rubber match at UFC 264. Following a first round that saw McGregor employ a kick heavy game plan before being grounded by Poirier and beat up on the mat for much of the round, McGregor stood up, got in a punching exchange with Poirier, and when he stepped back, snapped his left tibia and fibula in two. In the aftermath, a full-court press has been initiated to hand-waive the defeat as circumstantial, with McGregor claiming that he entered the bout with stress fractures in his leg and that because of the injury, Poirier’s win is “illegitimate.” Not everyone is buying McGregor’s argument though, case in point, UFC analyst and MMAFighting’s 11th-ranked light heavyweight, Anthony Smith.

“Everyone who loses has an excuse. It’s new for Conor to be like that,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation. “I’m not the excuses guy but in my circle, all my friends know what’s going on. They know pre and they know post. Like, ‘I know you’re never gonna say this but what was going on here? I know you’ll never say this publicly because you don’t make excuses.’ And I’ll absolutely tell my friends what’s going on. (They) knew that my hand was broken going into the Glover (Teixeira) fight and I never said anything about it because it’s not an excuse! Glover probably had a broken hand. We all are injured.

“Going into the Jimmy Crute fight - I can talk about it because I won - my leg was f*cked. Totally f*cked. I couldn’t kick almost the entire training camp. I had this huge, huge hematoma and I’m lucky the commission didn’t catch it because I don’t know if they would have even let me fight. The point of that is we’re all banged up going in. The sport is very hard and you put your body - the fight’s the easiest part. Making it through a training camp as uninjured as possible is the tough part.”

McGregor’s injury has been a hot-button topic the past few weeks as he and his team have given a full-court press on explaining away his defeat, with both McGregor and his head coach John Kavanagh suggesting that the first round was going exactly to plan prior to the injury (McGregor lost the round 10-8 on two judge’s score cards) and that McGregor had an ankle injury heading into the bout, on top of the stress fractures in his leg. UFC President Dana White has also done his part, corroborating Kavanagh’s claims bout McGregor’s ankle. In response, fighters and MMA luminaries have said that these are all poor attempts to dismiss a cold reality: that Poirier is simply better than McGregor, and Smith agrees.

“I would say Conor wasn’t any more hurt than Dustin was going into that fight,” Smith said. “That’s not me saying Conor wasn’t banged up or his legs weren’t bothering him or his shin wasn’t cracked up or whatever, but he wasn’t any more injured that Dustin Poirier was. That’s my perspective at it from an athlete.

“It’s easy for a fan or someone who has never done it to say, ‘Oh, he was hurt.’ We’re all hurt. Every single one of us, every single time we fight. There’s not one person that can ever say they go in 100 percent healthy. So his excuses are very invalid to me. To the general public, it makes sense that they people would buy into that excuse but Conor knows that all of us don’t buy it because we’re all hurt too. That’s how I look at it, but he’s not lobbying to us. It’s to the general public, the buyers, the PPV buyers. Those are the people he needs to convince but he knows he’s never gonna convince us.”

Well, he’ll have plenty of time to try. McGregor is anticipated to be out for a year recovering from his injury. When he does return though, UFC President Dana White has already suggested the UFC will look at doing a fourth fight between he and Poirier to resolve whatever controversy there may be.


Recap. Gilbert Urbina advances to the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter middleweight tournament.

Champ. Brandon Moreno: Deiveson Figueiredo needs to earn rematch, but Cody Garbrandt a good name.

Fight. Michael Chandler says there’s ‘no doubt’ Justin Gaethje should be next fight: ‘Come on, bro’.

History. Josh Barnett doubles down on Fedor Emelianenko fight: ‘Do it with someone who actually really gives a sh*t about him’.


What the Heck.

Inside the UFC Academy Combine in Shanghai.

Behind the scenes for Islam Makhachev’s fight day.

Donald Cerrone giving back.

Billy Q putting his business out in the street.


UFC Unfiltered. An interview with Billy Quarantillo.



A warning.

Conor McGregor has a fancy new toy.

Shoot your shot.

Two cents.

Tony Ferguson.



Miles Johns (11-1) vs. Anderson dos Santos (21-8); UFC 265, Aug. 7.

Cheick Kongo (30-11-2) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (32-8); Bellator 265, Aug. 20.

Yuki Motoya (28-9) vs. Kenta Takizawa (12-7); RIZIN 30, Sep. 19.

Hiromasa Ougikubo (22-5-2) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (29-18-1); RIZIN 30, Sep. 19.

Naoki Inoue (16-2) vs. Yuto Hokamura (14-9-2); RIZIN 30, Sep. 19.

Kai Asakura (17-3) vs. A. Yoshihiro Yamaniha (18-8-4); RIZIN 30, Sep. 19.

Ayaka Hamasaki (22-3) vs. Emi Fujino (25-11); RIZIN 30, Sep. 19.


For a guy with bum ankles and a fractured shin, Conor sure threw a lot of kicks in that fight. Also, I find it curious that the line out of McGregor’s camp is “I was grievously injured coming into this fight and got worked in the first round, but round two was where I was going to shine!” Interesting strategy.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Are you buying Conor’s excuses?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Yes, he was on his way to a win.
    (121 votes)
  • 90%
    No, Poirier is simply better.
    (1105 votes)
1226 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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