Remember last week when UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor took time out from training for his upcoming super fight with UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos to lash out at UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum while accepting his Fighter of Year trophy at the Fighters Only World MMA awards? Forgoing well-established, and reasonable, traditions of MMA trash-talking that say it's best to save your psychological warfare and your breath for people you might one day actually fight, Conor leapt five whole weight classes that night just for the sake of landing a blow. For him, trash-talking goes beyond mere practicalities and into the realm of art, maybe even morality.
Today Fighter's Only Magazine released more pre-recorded video of McGregor from last Friday's show, this time his acceptance speech for the International Fighter of the Year award. Ignoring Werdum this time, McGregor turned his attention back to people he might actually fight one day, namely Nick Diaz and Frankie Edgar, both of whom have recently joined the long list of UFC fighters putting the name "Conor McGregor" on their lips in the hopes of scoring the biggest money fight of their careers. Which makes them, in the eyes of Conor McGregor, desperate, and therefore vulnerable.
The attack on Diaz was boilerplate Conor McGregor: equating a man's worth as a man with his salary, and finding him wanting. "I heard Nate Diaz couldn't even afford to fly over to Las Vegas for the ceremony," McGregor said. "Stop holding bitterness deep in your bum soul. Stuck on 20,000 to show and 20,000 to fight. I wipe my ass with that money. I tip your wage, Nate." Cruel—and even crueler, probably true—but nothing Diaz hasn't heard before, or said before, about his place in the UFC: money being the primary source of agitation and self-doubt for any professional fighter not named Conor McGregor.
But McGregor saved his lowest and most brutal blow for Edgar, whose understandable desire for more money led the New Jersey native to make the less-than-understandable decision to join KHK MMA, a fight team owned and operated by the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Khaled Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a man accused by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights and the International Council Supporting Trials and Human Rights of torturing pro-democracy activists during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Following his knockout win over Chad Mendes last December, Edgar, an unabashed American patriot, flung a composite American-Bahraini flag over his shoulders in a geopolitical display that confused just about everyone in attendance, while Al Khalifa (who had been one of Edgar's three cornermen during the fight for no reason aside from the most obvious and disheartening one) beamed behind him in the Octagon, like a proud father. Something like that is not going to go unnoticed by someone like Conor McGregor.
"Frankie Edgar … I heard Frankie's little ass is wrapped in a burqa," McGregor said. "I heard he's dressed like a little Sheikh servant or something … struggling to make a few quid."
Of course Conor McGregor is as much a scattergun as he is a surgeon when it comes to trash talk. No one is safe. Not heavyweights, not UFC executives, not even the media. No surprise then that after doing away with two likely future opponents Friday night he turned his attention to all MMA fighters and even us in the MMA press, calling us all out for riding his enormous coattails to our own successes.
"The who's who of MMA I'm sure is there in their badly fitted suits, having a penny in their pocket," McGregor said to the audience gathered there in the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas, before turning on me and my kind: "It's an honor to be recognized by some magazine that probably should owe me some money too."