To all the money chasers out there – you know who you are:
I won’t get into specifics because that’s not what this is about. This is not a platform for name calling.
That being said, there is an issue that needs addressing. A trend that began with Conor McGregor and trickled down to fellow champions and contenders alike. The difference, however, lies within the execution.
Quite frankly, Conor’s manipulation of the fans and media has been masterful. He’s made wild claims and backed them all up, solidifying his legacy with each move on the chess board. The 13 second knockout of pound-for-pound great Jose Aldo. The welterweight rematch against sudden rival Nate Diaz. The domination at Madison Square Garden to become a two-way world champion. McGregor is the biggest star the sport has ever seen and he holds that position because he delivers. Every time.
With that meteoric rise came a brand new role to be played; a niche carved out by one man but sought after by many. Now, more than ever, fighters are calling for “big money fights”.
Many have unfairly blamed this trend on the Notorious Irishman due to his propensity for flash. He’s jumping weight classes at will, essentially hand picking his opponents, holding multiple championships simultaneously. It’s impressive, sure, but it sets an example.
To put it in perspective, he’s only able to accomplish the opportunities presented to him.
The vast majority of UFC Champions will never be granted the opportunity to fight for a second belt. Certainly not before a single title defense. Nevertheless, Conor seems to have created this false expectation in others. It’s reflective of the changing culture of society: everyone wants everything and they want it right away.
Materialism at its best and narcissism at its worst.
Every fighter under the sun seems to want to mix it up with McGregor. They talk about big fights and short careers and legacies and money. They’re willing to wait on the sidelines until they get exactly what the want, whether it be a shot at the title, a super fight, or some specific opponent.
But the truth is, this way of thinking does more harm than good. They’re focusing on external obstacles rather than internal goals. They’re looking at specific matchups as a fast track to financial success, while failing to maintain focus on their own careers. Call it a ‘get rich quick’ scheme rather than a slow climb up the corporate ladder.
Conor McGregor will be in “big money fights” for the rest of his career because he is big money.
If fighters spent less time chasing that dream matchup and more time becoming the dream matchup for others, then there would be nothing left to complain about. Argument over. Become a draw and you won’t need to worry about who’s standing across from you.
Patience is something that’s lost on this new generation of fighters. And while there are plenty of fighters who still have their heads and hearts in the right place, there were enough doing the opposite for me to notice.
And that’s a damn shame.
Okay rant over. I don’t do this often, but I needed to vent.