Even when Conor McGregor loses, he wins. In this case, a $3,000,000 purse. Last week, the notorious Irish trash-talker tapped out in the fourth round of his much anticipated fight with undefeated lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, only to be attacked by two of Khabib’s training partners, while Khabib vaulted the octagon fence and attacked Conor’s training partners.
Some argue they had it coming—Khabib had been severely provoked on the night and in the 6 month lead up. However, anyone entering the world of UFC and its associated promotional duties should have a thick enough skin and expect to trade verbal (as well as physical) barbs. In light of this, Khabib’s post match antics have been condemned by pretty much everyone except Vladimir Putin. Oh and his $2,000,000 purse has been with-held, pending an investigation into his behaviour, which will likely result in a fine, a lengthly suspension, and possibly even result in him being stripped of his title.
Dana White said, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just disgusted and sick over it,” while lightweight rival Tony Ferguson said what the rest of us were thinking, “He (Khabib) should have just took his win, (and) took his belt, like a man.” He’d already proved Conor’s claim that he would knock him out in the first round false, proved that his shit talking couldn’t put him off his game, had everyone on his side against the cocky Irishman—then threw it all away.
So, apart from the rogue Russian making him look good by comparison, why does everyone still love McGregor? The following quote, we believe, sums it up: “I am cocky in prediction. I am confident in preparation, but I am always humble in victory or defeat.” This is what Conor said at the UFC 178 post-fight press conference, and whatever you think about his obscene self promotion and deliberately offensive (and hilarious) insults, no-one can dispute that he knows how to win—and lose—with dignity.
When he lost to Nate Diaz, this is what he had to say, “I have a lot of respect for Nate. He came in at short notice. He was efficient. I was not… I hit too much arms. These things happen. I learn. I grow. It is what it is.” Then, although it gets overshadowed by cheeky posts like this, when he lost to Floyd Mayweather in his debut (Floyd’s last) boxing match he said, “Another day another lesson! Congrats to Floyd on a well fought match.”
“Very experienced and methodical in his work,” he continued. “I wish him well in retirement. He is a heck of a boxer. His experience, his patience and his endurance won him this fight hands down. I always told him he was not a fighter but a boxer. But sharing the ring with him he is certainly a solid fighter. Strong in the clinch. Great understanding of frames and head position. He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure.”
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Just coming back around after a whirlwind couple of days. Thank you to all the fans for the support of the fight and the event! Without your support we as fighters are nothing so I thank you all! Thank you to my team of coaches and training partners! I had an amazing team and It truly was an amazing and enjoyable camp, and honestly I feel with just a little change in certain areas of the prep, we could have built the engine for 12 full rounds under stress, and got the better result on the night. Getting to 12 rounds alone in practice was always the challenge in this camp. We started slowly getting to the 12 and decreasing the stress in the rounds the closer it got to 12. I think for the time we had, 10 weeks in camp, it had to be done this way. If I began with a loaded 12 rounds under much stress I would have only hit a brick wall and lost progress as a result and potentially not made the fight. A little more time and we could have made the 12 cleanly, while under more stress, and made it thru the later rounds in the actual fight. I feel every decision we made at each given time was the correct decision, and I am proud of everyone of my team for what we done in the short time that we done it. 30 minutes was the longest I have fought in a ring or cage or anywhere. Surpassing my previous time of 25 minutes. I am happy for the experience and happy to take all these great lessons with me and implement them into my camp going forward. Another day another lesson! Congrats to Floyd on a well fought match. Very experienced and methodical in his work. I wish him well in retirement. He is a heck of a boxer. His experience, his patience and his endurance won him this fight hands down. I always told him he was not a fighter but a boxer. But sharing the ring with him he is certainly a solid fighter. Strong in the clinch. Great understanding of frames and head position. He has some very strong tools he could bring into an MMA game for sure. Here is a toast of whiskey to everyone involved in this event and everyone who enjoyed it! Thank you to you all! Onto the next one!
So, the question is: what makes Conor’s reactions to his losses so endearing that people overlook his atrocious behaviour (like throwing a hand truck through a bus window)? Well, we hit up Nick Phipps, a professional Australian rugby union player, to ask—how does one lose graciously?
“Accept responsibility for the result straight away and think of the bigger picture before you speak out or take action.”
The key, he says, is to recognise that, “As tough as life looks in the wake of failure – whether on the sporting field or in the boardroom – there is always a bigger picture, a new challenge to work towards, a plan to turn things around.” And in the wake of the Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s championship fight, he says, “It would seem McGregor is doing just that.”
Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 7 October 2018
Not only that, but taking responsibility for what went wrong, and telling your fans you are humble enough to work on it, goes a long way: “Throwing yourself into working out what went wrong actually helps you to move on. In rugby, that might be strength, passing, tracking, watching tapes or working on fitness. Irrespective of whether we win or lose, fans and sponsors rely on us to leave no stone unturned.”
“Keeping an eye on the bigger picture is also essential. For us, the big picture is about winning the mental battles, learning from our mistakes and keeping our goals out in front of ourselves.”
“No one likes to lose and tensions can run high, especially after a loss,” he added. “But losing is also an opportunity to learn—and show your opponents that a loss isn’t going to rattle you easily.” Not only that, he says, but, “It’s also a chance to show the fans and people who follow you that you respect and value their support.”
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