Conor McGregor is starting to feel like a bundle of celebrity cliches – and we can't look away
Maybe it sounds worse than it really was. You see the headline – some combination of the name Conor McGregor and the words “arrested for strong-arm robbery” – and you almost can’t help but picture all sorts of wild scenarios.
Was the former UFC two-division champion out in Miami Beach snatching chains or stealing wallets? Then you read on and learn, no, he just (allegedly) slapped some guy’s cell phone out of his hand and then stomped on it before picking it up and taking it with him. It’s the kind of thing that seems cool when Tony Stark does it but winds up being an actual crime in real life.
Who knew, right? Well, probably most of us. But still.
Certain questions arise when you start adding up all the contextual clues. Questions like, of all the pictures people try to take of McGregor on all the cell phones, what was so offensive about this one that he just couldn’t allow it? Also questions like, does the answer have anything to do with the fact that this supposedly happened outside a hotel with a nightclub at around 5 a.m.?
Taken on its own, this would probably be just another minor celebrity blip. So McGregor lost his cool and smashed your phone. He’ll end up buying you a new one, likely with a little extra thrown in for your terrible emotional suffering.
And come on, have you seen the way some people act around celebrities? There’s a sense of entitlement, as if this person owes you something – a selfie, a moment of their time, an autograph – all because you’ve seen them on TV before. It’s a wonder more phones don’t end up on the pavement.
But with McGregor, there’s bound to be the question of how this fits into the larger narrative. Just last week the story was all about him completing his court-ordered community service by helping out at Brooklyn churches as penance for throwing a hand truck through a bus window prior to UFC 223. TMZ even told us that he’d had a “long and meaningful conversation with a reverend” in the course of completing his chores.
What a guy, right? Clearly, this was a changed man from the one who’d gone berserk on a loading dock last April.
Then this, one week later. The guy with the newborn baby at home is out at 5 a.m. in Miami Beach, allegedly assaulting people’s personal electronic devices. Suddenly that new leaf he turned over looks a lot like the old one. It also throws new light on Donald Cerrone’s claim that he went “radio silent” during negotiations for a proposed fight.
Time has a way of smoothing over some of these incidents in the mind of the public. Mike Tyson injured his hand in a street fight with a fellow boxer outside an all-night tuxedo rental shop back in his heyday, and now it’s just another wild Tyson story, the kind people retell with a smile.
Still, stuff like this sometimes affords us a snapshot of what’s going on in a person’s life. And for McGregor, who’s spent most of the last year fending off one accusation after another, it doesn’t exactly paint a picture of a tranquil or even particularly focused existence.
Instead it seems like a guy who’s turning into a bundle of celebrity cliches, traveling a predictable trajectory with all the familiar highs and lows. Even though we’ve seen this movie before, apparently we don’t stop being entertained by it.
You know, just as long as our precious phones remain at a safe distance.
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