Rory McIlroy has given up Twitter and social media these days, but maybe he has found something to fill the void: Mixed Martial Arts?
Certainly he is all in for the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather extravaganza that will pit McGregor, an MMA legend, against a world-class boxer on Saturday night, maybe the best pound-for-pound fighter in history. You can bet McIlroy will be in front of a screen watching after spending several weeks closely following the buildup to the fight.
“All I do is watch YouTube videos of Conor McGregor,” McIlroy said Wednesday at The Northern Trust, referring to the McGregor, who is from Dublin.
“I’m intrigued. He talks a good game. If you just listen to his press conferences and what he says, you would think that this guy, he’s the one with the 50-0 boxing record. (Mayweather is actually 49-0 with 26 knockouts.) It’s amazing. I’m a big admirer of him.”
McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, has met McGregor on a few occasions and said the fighter is quite humble when the cameras aren’t rolling. When they are, well, it’s another story.
“He’s a showman,” McIlroy said. “He does all this stuff for the cameras. Behind the scenes, he wants to be a shrewd businessman. He’s made a lot of money. He will make a lot of money. I guess looking from him, he’s loving being a dad, all that sort of stuff. He wants to provide for his family. He comes from a tough area in Dublin and he doesn’t forget where he came from. I think he’s a big role model for a lot of people back home, as well. I think that’s why he’s got so much support.”
McIlroy, like McGregor, is a big believer in visualization and the law of attraction, and gives the MMA fighter a chance to upset Mayweather this weekend. McGregor is a considerable underdog in the fight, but a large percentage of bettors have been backing him.
“Some of the stuff he does wouldn’t be my cup of tea,” McIlroy said, “but he believes 100 percent in himself and he believes he’s going to go out there on Saturday night and shock the world.”
McIlroy wasn’t done. He even joked, in-depth, about what might go down.
“I just fear that they do all this trash-talking and they go behind the scenes and they are having a laugh and thinking: I can’t believe we are taking all this public for a ride,” McIlroy said. “We are all buying into it and they are like, can you believe these people believe this. I just hope it doesn’t turn into it and I hope it’s not in any way fixed. … Imagine McGregor knocks him out in the first couple of rounds. They would get even more for the rematch. The rematch would be even bigger. I just don’t know what that zero on Mayweather’s record is worth, and that’s the thing. That’s his legacy.
“If he goes down and lies down for 10 seconds at some point in that, you know, is that worth making an extra few 100 million? That’s sort of up to him.”