MMA Betting Can No Longer Deny McGregor’s StardomPosted by: Charlie Smith
Sportsbook fans would agree that 2016 was by far the best year the UFC has ever had in its short history and one man was at the forefront of the promotional company’s success: Conor McGregor. Ever since he stepped foot into the UFC Notorious has been making a name for himself going from an up-and-coming fighter on welfare to the biggest name in the UFC. Not only has the Irishman been fattening his pockets, he has also been helping MMA betting fans make a pretty penny on UFC betting lines. But despite being the highest paid UFC fighter, despite knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, and despite the notoriety he has earned at a global level, there are still some who will argue that McGregor isn’t the UFC’s biggest star. Of the people making this argument the most notable is none other than the UFC’s president himself, Dana White.
“By far. Not even close, by far the biggest star ever,” White responded when asked if Ronda Rousey is the biggest star the UFC has ever had. “Ronda Rousey is such a big star that when you go down to Brazil….they don’t care who you are. They want the Brazilian to whoop your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian. Never seen that before in my life and will probably never see it again. That’s how big Ronda Rousey is.”
Apparently being cheered on in enemy territory is enough for White to consider you the UFC’s biggest star, but most UFC sportsbook fans would disagree. Sure Rousey built quite a reputation in the MMA betting community but was widely overhyped by the media. Rousey is a great fighter and her armbar technique might be the best in the world, but calling her the biggest star the UFC has ever had seems overzealous. Especially when the UFC’s biggest star is just reaching his prime. Also, few people can compete with the tenacity of Jersey folk. When McGregor faced Alvarez, who was born and raised in New Jersey, in New York, the crowd cheered for the Irishman, instead of their own kin. Wonder how that ranks on Dana’s stardom gauge.
The difference between McGregor and Rousey was most evident at UFC 207. We all saw how McGregor handled adversity after Diaz got the best of him; he blamed no one but himself, made the proper adjustments, and went back to avenge his name. Rousey did the complete opposite. After suffering a brutal head-kick from Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey took a year off to get her head back on straight and prepare to get her glory back. However, Amanda Nunes – a Brazilian from the heart of the Favelas, tore her apart in 48 seconds, ultimately handing her a more humiliating defeat than the one she suffered at the hands of Holm. It seems ironic that Nunes, a Brazilian, would be the one to put the final nail in the Rousey coffin, given White’s previous comments about Rousey’s reception in Brazil.
With the humiliation Rousey suffered, it became crystal clear to MMA betting critics that Conor McGregor is the UFC’s biggest star, and arguably only star. Most sportsbook fans would agree that seeing Rousey get destroyed was hard to watch. But even harder to swallow was the special treatment that Rousey got from Dana. We all remember when McGregor was pulled off a card for refusing to fly out to do media obligations, stating that it was an unnecessary distraction from his training. But when Rousey wanted to have zero media obligations, White was willing to bend more than backwards to accommodate the apple of his eye. At this point it’s undeniable that White favors Rousey over any fighter, even the one making his pockets the fattest. Instead of letting possibly the greatest fighter the UFC has known prepare for his fights, White treats him like a harlot, going as far as creating unnecessary displays of authority just to try and make a point. McGregor shouldn’t be stripped of his belt and shame on Aldo for accepting a hand me down title. At the end of the day the fans are what keeps the UFC alive and what the fans want to see most is McGregor achieve greatness. White should just get out of the way.