The Conor McGregor era officially ended last night with a broken leg. If we step back and take a look at the big picture, it probably ended a few years ago, but McGregor remained the biggest name in mixed martial arts. He may not have been a champion, but he looked and felt like a champion. That illusion should be gone now.
This was McGregor's third loss in his last four fights. His second in a row to Dustin Poirier who was beating him handily before his leg snapped. McGregor was left on the mat screaming unnecessary comments at Poirier. Things had turned personal earlier in the year and the hurt and probably embarrassment McGregor was feeling meant there was no turning back.
It was an incredibly weird scene as the round ended. McGregor covered up enough to get to the bell and then just sat there. As announcers and fans figured out what had happened, McGregor was shouting that the loss should be considered a doctor's stoppage
From there he turned his attention back to Poirier. The winner did his interview with Joe Rogan as McGregor remained sitting against the cage with doctors trying to stabilize his leg. Rogan then came over and sat down next to McGregor, which I don't think we've ever seen.
McGregor argued about how he broke his leg and insisted Poirier's wife was in his direct messages. Jolie Poirier gave McGregor the finger as she walked out.
You wouldn't think McGregor could top the scene he inspired following the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, but he somehow found a way.
Now comes the tough part for McGregor. He needs surgery and has a long recovery ahead of him. Then he has to get back into the metal space where he can allow someone to kick him in that leg. I'm sure he'll say he still wants a fourth fight with Poirier, but a return to the celebrity boxing world will be a much easier payday. There's no shame in that now.
Besides, the truth is he has won just one fight since 2016. McGregor's only win was against Donald Cerrone, who himself was in the middle of realizing his best days were behind him. Some people might point out that he spent some time boxing. This was a very profitable exhibition match, which he lost. It's hard to find many athletic highlights from the last half decade for one of the world's most famous athletes.
McGregor will probably return to the UFC. Combat sports athletes have a hard time staying away. He's about to turn 33 and nobody walks away that young. Not that there would be anything wrong with walking away. McGregor has done it all. He's one of the few people outside of UFC ownership who have made serious money from the organization. He's headlined some of the biggest fights ever. He's won titles in two divisions. He doesn't really have anything to prove.
What he should do is walk away from Dana White and the UFC, who still need him more than he needs them. He should pick a few highly lucrative celebrity boxing matches and then walk away. Start a podcast. Open a chain of car dealerships or gyms or sports bars. Start a cryptocurrency. You know, rich people stuff. He can do that. He doesn't need real sports. It's a unique position for someone who does a sport professionally to be in and he should absolutely take advantage.