There was a time when Conor McGregor used to work as a plumber who was mired in the mediocrity of debt.
About a decade-and-a-half later, he is the world’s highest-paid athlete, having earned $180 million in 2020 - and he’s not done yet.
For someone with beginnings so humble as his, few would have thought that this is what he would turn out to be. A superstar who is playing in millions, loved by millions and inspiring millions.
Let alone being a super-rich sportsman, no one thought he would grace the UFC Octagon some day, not even his parents.
Everyone knows that the Crumlin-born fighter loves Manchester United, however, there’s only a few who realise that he has been a United fan for a longer time than he has been a boxing fan. Yes, you did read that right.
It was when a 12-year-old McGregor was chased by a group of bullies when he thought he was not going to sit back and let them scare the living hell out of him. That is the day he decided to take up boxing and began training at the Crumlin Boxing Club. They must worship that place now.
As his family moved to another town, or to put it a different way, as his fate took him to a different place at 16, McGregor met Tom Egan, and the two began training MMA together.
Such was the two boys’ love for the game, they would often watch delayed UFC recordings at the weekend to be able to improve themselves, but, well, you don’t stay a boy all your life, and once it was time to become a man, it was also time to earn.
At 17, McGregor therefore chose to make his money by plumbing.
“I was waking up at 5am and walking in the dark, freezing cold until I reached the motorway & waited for a guy I didn’t even know to take me to the site,” he recalls of the time. For the record, it was a 12-hour shift.
For someone spending half a day fixing toilets, training was always going to be a matter of “if” not “when”, and McGregor was the first to realise that for as long as training was not his routine, but a shadow of the reality he wanted, he was not going to make it. This is when he made the big decision.
He gave up his job, and with it, the prospects of making a livelihood. McGregor, as he so often does, went all in and backed himself. Typical.
And so began his training with John Kavanagh, who he would spend all day training with, giving classes while he wasn’t to be able to stop his financial bleeding. Of course he had the additional support of welfare cheques, but they could only do so much.
Finances weren’t his only problem, though. His MMA career didn’t get off to the best of starts, which obviously wasn’t good news. That led to a two-year absence, but when he finally returned, he did so in an extraordinary fashion, winning eight consecutive fights.
You know what was up next... a deal with Dana White.
At last came the big moment; McGregor’s UFC debut. Before heading to Sweden for his first big bout, he cashed in a welfare cheque, unaware of the fact that it would be the last time he did so. Wonder why? He returned home with a $60k bonus after knocking Marcus Brimage out in the first round. It was his first “Knockout of the Night” Award. The first of many.
Fast forward to 2020 and he has won more than 20 fights, multiple world titles and numerous seven-figure cheques, a far cry from his $200-odd welfare cheque.
But that is not all McGregor is. Who says the Octagon is all there is to his life? It might shock a few, but it really isn’t that surprising. And what better testament there is to that statement than the fact that $160 million of McGregor’s $180 million earned last year came from what he did outside the Octagon.
After all, he is not merely someone who can punch the soul of his opponent, but also, a brilliant entrepreneur who owns August McGregor and Proper 12 Whiskey amongst other things.
He fought just once last year and still ended up making more than any other athlete in the world. That’s prowess combined with genius for you.
It does not really matter as to what you think of him and his antics. It also doesn’t matter what you think of him as an MMA fighter, for the fact remains, he is an example for everyone to follow. And box-office at the same time. Beat that.
So that's the remarkable journey and life of Conor McGregor, brilliantly laid out in a superb Twitter thread by Joe Pompliano.News Now - Sport News