This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
1. Hello. Conor McGregor could kick my actual head off. The whole thing. You’re thinking: no. You're thinking: Joel, Conor McGregor could kick, like, the top 30 percent of your head off. But not the whole thing. Consider my head like a melon: You could kick a melon, couldn’t you? You could sort of crush and mush the top bit of it, but you could not kick the thing into the next field. A head? Attached to a neck? And shoulders and a body? Kicked clean off? No. Absolutely not. Impossible.
But then consider me standing upright and a little dazed. Conor McGregor is topless and pulsatingly sweating, his hands tied in tight little punching bandages, the tiger tattooed on his stomach, roaring. He shuffles around to swing his kicking leg out behind him and then forward with the momentum and then—swush. Conor McGregor could kick my head clean off. If Conor McGregor kicks me in the head once, I am dead. My head is bouncing away into a nearby parking lot. All of you come to my funeral and pay your respects to my two separate coffins—one small, microwave-size, for my head, and one more normal-size, to encase the remaining 80 percent of my body, otherwise pristine and untouched—because there’s no way I’m getting up once Conor McGregor kicks me in the head. I’m not even twitching. And even with all of that said:
And I cannot believe I am coming for one of the most dangerous men currently alive, here:
This Conor McGregor commercial with Burger King is… something:
2. I'm going to need you to watch this again because there’s a lot going on here. First off, between the two- to three-second mark, where you can visibly see McGregor's will to live escape his body—somewhere between him saying "talk" and "swirling"—and then it coming back to him again, electric, when he remembers quite how much money he must be making from this:
How much money do you think he made from this? Consider reports that have him down for making $100 million from being punched until he was exhausted by Floyd Mayweather last year. How much, if you already had $100 million, would it take to convince you to get on a private jet with an eerie emotionless burger monarch? One million, say? More?
Burger King has priors with boxing: The King himself walked out behind Mayweather before the Pacquaio fight in 2015, and here’s a video of Mayweather putting chapstick on and clanging into the worst microphone in recorded history and saying BK put up "some serious money… some heavy money. And I'm not talking about a million dollars" to be able to do that. So the question, again: You, the $100 million-having person—a private jet, a chicken sandwich, a silent totem of burger-frying capitalism? Floyd Mayweather, with his heavy BK money: What's your price? What’s your price to lock yourself in a jet with him and tell him his burger is good?
My price in this situation is $2 million.
Additional question: Say Burger King gave you $2 million, to eat a burger, on a jet, locked on there with the eerie unblinking plastic eyes of a killer. When you eat that burger, would you eat it more convincingly than Conor McGregor does here, when he both manages to get mayo on his mustache and, possibly worst of all, keeps the damp brown burger-smelling paper bag on his lap throughout, like a drunk girl on the night bus?
Would you not ask for another take, on that one? Look:
My dude bites into a burger like Ozzy Osbourne trying to kill a bat—
There is a plate there right in front of him. With a gold napkin on it. Wipe your mayonnaise mustache.
3. Quick ranking of Conor McGregor/Burger King promo shots based on how dead behind the eyes he looks in each.
and they have to, panting, do a little "call and vote!" pose for the cameras while Ant & Dec introduce a child singer who is about to outperform them ten votes to one, and they have to go back home to Darlington and run a church hall kid’s club for the rest of their life? You know that pose they do? That.
0 percent dead behind the eyes
45 percent dead behind the eyes
"Y’alright, Conor, can you look like you’re punching it? Like you’re about to punch someone, but you’re already holding a burger in your hand? Mind putting a cardboard crown on your head like a baby, too?"
60 percent dead behind the eyes
"You AND your fucking cunt friend aren’t coming back in here until he calms down and starts blinking, alright? You can stand in this fire escape until that group of girls have gone."
1,000 percent dead behind the eyes
4. What is Conor McGregor? There is something deep within the DNA of him that is deeply affecting to certain men (straight, straight men). A powerful identification with him. It’s like he is the violence and the ego that is deep within all of us—even soft-bodied soy boys, even dudes who never threw a punch in their life, the kids who read books—like all that primitive rage and anger, selectively bred out of us over generations, but still dormant and waiting... it's like he's that but made flesh. He’s very male, is what I’m saying, plus, he’s astonishingly rich and drives around in sports cars with cool watches on, and wears suits like someone’s hard uncle at a wedding who’s had slightly too much champagne and now looks like he might burp so hard he explodes, the suit holding him upright, almost, with his big hard arms out to his side. (Conor McGregor walks a bit like I imagine a snake would walk if it were very suddenly given four muscular limbs, confused but eerily confident with it, strutting with a bobbing neck.) Every single guy who wears cutoff vests in the gym and takes "rise and grind" selfies follows him on Instagram, the adult equivalent of having a poster of him on your wall. Every single guy who has ever won a fistfight they didn’t even start thinks he’s "sound" or "sound as fuck." If you have ever dropped more than £100 [$138] on wireless headphones to work out in, and have actually finished a tub of protein powder in your life, then you view Conor McGregor as something close to God.
5. And here’s another thing: He’s a completely self-made sporting superstar. You look at Cristiano Ronaldo, the high-gloss face of soccer, or Floyd Mayweather, who took boxing purses to the natural conclusion, and they both became established in high-glamour sports that springboarded their personal brand. Conor McGregor is just a very hard guy whose fame came from UFC, which as everyone knows, is a sport for boys with soiled duvet covers and unkempt neckbeards—and which, for many years, was essentially a collapsed governing body away from just being a sweaty basement Fight Club. There is an alternate timeline, parallel to ours, where UFC never became a thing and is just something we whisper about farmers doing in the dead months after harvest. Conor McGregor made millions from that.
6. So actually, I have concluded that this commercial—this devastatingly embarrassing commercial —is actually not that bad. I think it’s because of the naked opportunism of it: McGregor, turning to the camera to spend a good 20 percent of the allotted commercial boasting about how the money he was making from the commercial would send his son to college. He's literally acknowledging how bad the commercial is from inside the confines of the commercial. That’s trash talk on another level. That’s banter from space. Remember when he turned up to a press conference in a "FUCK YOU"–emblazoned suit? He has outperformed that stunt to 1 million degrees, here. He’s possibly the first athlete in history to perform meta-banter, out-trolling the trolls, and getting paid for it. That, I think, is what saves this commercial from being the worst ever made and turns it possibly into history’s best: Conor McGregor, perfect white teeth, thousands of dollars worth of teeth, perfect beard and custom-tailored suit, on a BK jet, just biting into a burger at me. Daring me not to like it. Conor McGregor has just checkmated me with banter. A fundamental part of my lizard brain can’t help but respect him for that.
Conclusion: I am sad to say that this terrible Conor McGregor/Burger King commercial is good.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Joel Golby on Twitter.