UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has arguably single handedly put Ireland back on the map regarding combat sports, and it seems as if he’s widely adored in his homeland.

Often times dubbed as the “Pride of Ireland”, the “Notorious” one is normally followed by tens of thousands of screaming Irish fans each and every time he fights.

The loud-mouthed knockout artist has rose to prominence with his brash trash talk, often receiving hate and criticism because of it. However, this criticism rarely comes from his own country – that is until recently.

JP O’Malley of the Irish Independent recently wrote an article trashing McGregor, accusing him of only being loyal to his money, as well as acting as a lackluster example to the Irish youth:

“But the world champion mixed-martial-arts fighter isn’t just a paid lackey for a dodgy sporting enterprise working out of the Nevada desert. McGregor also appears to be devoid of any kind of moral compass; a trait one usually expects from a successful global athlete of his stature. His one true loyalty is to money and material wealth.

Never one to shy away from cliches and bland stereotypes in public, McGregor has also labelled the Irish – to millions of viewers around the world – as a nation of people who “are lovers of combat”. It’s hard to figure out if McGregor has the even the most basic intellectual faculties required to think before he speaks, given just how outrageous some of his comments have been.

Perhaps what’s most worrying about McGregor’s recent accession to sporting global dominance, though, is the example it’s setting to impressionable youngsters across Ireland. Namely, the normalising of barbaric violence in our culture, especially around young, naive, and hugely impressionable children, who tend to emulate the behaviour of their elders.”

While some Irish natives have referred to McGregor as national hero and icon, it’s definitely interesting to look at the situation from the opposite side of the spectrum.

What side do you take?