It’s no secret that the UFC’s top two undisputed stars may appear to be losing it a bit after two devastating losses in their last two respective bouts.
Yet while Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor are currently being heaped with criticism following two different kinds of outbursts, it’s not surprising to understand once one simply takes a look at the insurmountable pressure, media attention, hype, and time-consuming obligations were piled upon their shoulders in mass quantities.
That’s not to make excuses for either one, because as truly polarizing and unique fighters in their own right, they had built a large following of both passionate fans and fervent haters. One side tuned in to see them win emphatically as they always had before, and one side tuned in to for the small chance of hopefully seeing them lose. For a while, that game worked absolutely to perfection as Rousey and McGregor talked themselves up to clearly unattainable levels, and it worked because they backed it up in the Octagon with one seemingly endless stoppage after another.
But occupying that rarified air as a transcendent and one-of-a-kind superstar in the fight game is a tenuous position at best, and all of that came crashing down when Rousey lost to a vicious Holly Holm head kick at UFC 193 and McGregor was submitted by Nate Diaz in a welterweight bout four months later at March 5’s UFC 196.
Both ‘Rowdy’ and ‘Notorious’ stayed the undisputed top two stars in MMA, a backing sentiment to their true drawing power and overall scope, but it would obviously be impossible to say at least one coat of shine hadn’t been stripped away from their sleek sports cars on those nights. They’re still human, after all.
This week, however, it seems as if their somewhat troubling reactions to the losses have the once-confident superstars in the strangest spots of their otherwise spotless careers in the UFC.
Rousey made headlines for supposedly blowing up with a profanity-laced tirade on strawweight Paige VanZant at a Reebok event because she had congratulated on Holm for beating her, something PVZ soon confirmed. McGregor has obviously been embroiled in his drawn-out ‘retirement’ saga that found him pulled out of his UFC 200 main event rematch with Diaz for refusing to attend a press conference.
The drama has been poured on thick by both sides; however, at this point it’s a legitimate question as to whether McGregor should just keep his mouth shut and stay off of social media for now. Case in point, he showed up with an Instagram post of him throwing an uppercut at the UFC 196 open workouts with a caption touting its effectiveness in his bout with Diaz, a true point.
Yet it’s also a bit of clutching at straws, as it was a fight he was later battered and gassed before tapping out to a brutal finishing hold. Diaz walked through his punches that night, and now, it’s starting to appear he also walked through his once-indestructible psyche. McGregor had absolutely no problem doing each and every conference with gusto when he was knocking out much smaller fighters in every bout.
Again, not to take away from his accomplishments, because he’s been nothing but dominant at 145 pounds. But he and his employers may have built him up to an unachievable level that includes the rigorous and eventually exhausting promotional whirlwind it subjected he and Rousey to.
Rousey’s side of the story is a bit different. Read on to the next page to find out why.