MMA icon Conor McGregor has broken some fans’ hearts this morning (while delighting some others). He posted an image of himself to Instagram lighting a roll-up of unknown entrails. Some believe it adds to his ‘don’t give a toss’ persona; others fear it shows he isn’t taking fighting seriously anymore.
Conor McGregor has always been known as a deadly striker. He made a name for himself – becoming the Face Of The Fight Game – when his career peaked, arguably when he knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds flat in 2015. He has been a holder of more than one weight class title simultaneously and proved himself a marketing genius, banking 130 million for his fight with Floyd Mayweather.
But in recent years his form has slipped. After losing to Khabib in 2018 it’s been mostly downhill. The most painful loss, perhaps, was his most recent one – his second straight loss to Dustin Poirier – which happened in July 2021. This fight finished when Conor broke his leg. Though The Notorious is undoubtedly angling for a rematch, Poirier appears to have proved the point he wanted, and probably isn’t interested in going another round any time soon.
In the meantime, McGregor fans have been hoping the 34-year-old Irishman can train himself back into winning form, with Bleacher Report last month reporting that Dana White wants Conor McGregor to return to the UFC by the end of 2022 or the start of 2023 (who he fight will depend on the landscape at that time). However, McGregor, despite posting some furious footage of his sparring sessions and workouts, has also been criticised by fans for appearing to not be the perfect consummate professional in his downtime.
Case in point: McGregor, who is known for running out of gas during fights, appeared to be undermining his cardio training this morning, by posting a video of him lighting up what looks like a joint while on a yacht. The video inspired comments like ‘the thumbs down emoji’ and “stop smoking man haha.”
Another Instagram user wrote: “This guy will never be serious again. Makes me sad. Imagine if he was still as hungry.”
Others were less bothered, calling him a King, saying “gotta love him” and opining: “No need to fight ever again champ.” On Twitter, McGregor posted the same image, but with the caption: “Popjaw with the popeye arms.”
What I do is I line up jaws and pop them.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 31, 2022
As for if and when ‘Mystic Mac’ will return, we’ll just have to wait and see. But if Conor takes his training as seriously as he takes his downtime, his next opponent better be well prepared…
In terms of his form, Conor’s coach told BBC Sport in an article published in July: “He’s healthy, happy, and it’s great to have him back… The last few sessions in the gym here were MMA-orientated – he’s got the all-clear for that now.”
“He did a great session [earlier this past week], we got some great rounds in. He hasn’t lost a beat and was looking great.”
Regarding the impact smoking weed has on your fitness (we’re not saying that’s what McGregor is doing, as there’s no way to confirm what was really in the roll-up), just for the sake of general interest, DMARGE previously spoke to David McIntosh, founder of the Synergy Performance Institute, to find out.
He told us that – though some people, like Joe Rogan, have spoken about enjoying it and provided anecdotal evidence about how it makes them feel more connected to their body and more able to perhaps detect underlying injuries or things that need to be worked on – there is far more evidence to suggest you shouldn’t smoke before training if your overall goal is performance.
“When discussing cannabis, the two main active ingredients are the focus of the conversation – THC and CBD,” David told DMARGE.
“In 2017, a systematic review was published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. The findings were not favourable for things like strength training or aerobic performance.”
“A concerning finding was a tendency to develop chest pain due to poor blood flow to the heart (angina). In 2018, the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine discussed the use of cannabis by elite athletes and again, found no convincing evidence for increased physical performance.”
“In 2020, an article discussed the potential benefits of the CBD component alone, and highlighted there was no good evidence at the time of the article for promoting CBD, but there were potential benefits such as being anti-inflammatory and calming.”
“Also in 2020, another review of the use of cannabis by athletes found no convincing evidence for enhanced physical performance.”
“An article in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found a significant deleterious effect upon athletic performance, based on more contemporary research. This included less work capacity, increased cardiac workload (leading to relative oxygen depletion in the heart), and poor balance.”
“So, with science rather than social media as our guide, it would seem sensible for those with desires for maximal athletic performance to [re]consider whether cannabis is a good choice or best avoided.”
Of course, this is probably all a storm in a teacup, and McGregor probably isn’t sitting on the couch getting high and eating Doritos every night. It’s more likely he’s simply enjoying creating a media maelstrom, and perhaps didn’t even inhale.
WATCH: How Conor McGregor Maintains His Insane Physique
When all’s said and done though, his training and recovery efforts will be judged during his next visit to the octagon.