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Conor McGregor on fighters union: ‘There needs to be something,’ but MMAAA ‘wasn’t it’

Conor McGregor isn’t impressed by current attempts to create a fighters’ association or union, but he admits something has to get done.

UFC 205 Press Conference Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

One of the keys to any future fighter’s association or similar unionization efforts will always be star support. If the top talent isn’t invested in the idea, it’s going to be really difficult for the rank and file of the UFC (or MMA in general) to get much punch behind their collective bargaining efforts.

And there’s no talent more top right now than Conor McGregor. “The Notorious” Irishman currently stands as the UFC’s no.1 star, if not the biggest star in the promotion’s 20-year history. He’s practically guaranteed a million buys on any PPV he headlines, and has driven enough hype that the UFC even publicly offered him $25 million as half of a Floyd Mayweather “superfight.”

So, that being said, it’s not hard to see why any current fighters’ association might actively be courting the current UFC lightweight champion. The MMAAA has made the most public ovations toward McGregor. But, as he revealed in his recent PPV interview with Ariel Helwani, McGregor finds the MMAAA’s pitch more perplexing than enticing (transcript via MMA Fighting).

“I’m watching this union thing, it like a press conference, and I’m like, what the f*ck is going on here?” McGregor said during an hour-long interview in Manchester. “They’re standing up, they’re all wearing the same t-shirt. They’re saying, ‘Conor, please. Conor, please, you know what’s right. Help us out, Conor.’ And Georges [St-Pierre] is saying, ‘Conor’s a good person. I know he gets paid well, but he doesn’t get paid enough.’ And I’m like, what the f*ck are you talking about?

“The only reason you’re standing in the middle of that union is because you (St-Pierre) couldn’t get the deal you want. You’re the fakest of everyone up there.”

That doesn’t mean that he’s writing off the collective bargaining idea altogether, but it seems like he hasn’t seen anything he likes enough yet to jump fully on board with.

“There needs to be something, I just don’t know what it is,” McGregor said. “I’m focusing on me. I’m focusing on my family’s security, my family’s financial security. That’s all I can do. So I when I saw that, I just thought it was the biggest, fakest load of sh*t I’ve ever seen in my life. So, I don’t know. I wish everyone well, but you need to focus on yourself. You need to stop putting your hand out. Everyone’s hands are out, everyone wants things for free. You’ve got to put in the work, you’ve got to grind, you’ve got to go through the struggle, and you’ve got to get it.

“You deserve it, go get it. Don’t complain, don’t cry. Get the f*ck up and go get it. And a lot of people don’t do that. A lot of people cry and complain and put their hand out and beg, and it never goes well. So, I don’t know. There needs to be something. I just don’t know what that is.”

Given that stance (even with its insistence that “there needs to be something”), it’s hard to think that McGregor is going to be an easy ally for other groups to win over. And when he’s making more than $10 million per-fight, it’s not likely that he’s going to find himself in serious need of union efforts anytime soon.

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