The Conor McGregor Hype Drowned Out by the Chaos of New York

Conor McGregor is the latest sports star to try and, more or less, fail to take over New York. But it wasn’t his fault. New York isn’t the sort of place that can be conquered, not even by the likes of McGregor. The Ali-Frazer bout was pretty huge, and you only needed to look at the latest boxing lines at the time to know the hype surrounding that match.

But that was a different New York. Today, it has indeed become the city that never sleeps. There are too many entities and parties calling for attention. There is almost too much drama in New York, so much so that finding a sanctuary free from the frenetic pace of the city can prove difficult.

Last Saturday Afternoon saw ten thousand protestors descend on a three-mile stretch of avenue, snaking their way to Trump tower in a manifestation of all the dismay they felt at the direction the country was going.

Motorists looking for a way across had to be diverted, the noise of the heavy traffic only exacerbated by the din of frazzled NYPD police officers. Anyone standing in that throng of protestors would have felt like a fly in the ocean, trying to stay afloat in the midst of all that emotion.

And anyone who was standing in that throng of protestors would have been surprised to take a stroll around the corner a block away to find that life was going on as usual on Madison Avenue.

You had shoppers strolling about in peace, undisturbed by the chaos a short walk away.

It takes something truly special to take over New York; not even the Trump protestors managed to do that. Conor McGregor, while he made quite a splash along with the rest of the historic UFC card that occupied Madison Square Garden last weekend, he didn’t exactly bring the city to a standstill.

There were 18,000 people in the arena waiting to watch the spectacle unfold. UFC president Dana White said in previous weeks that he wanted the show in New York to satisfy even the most skeptical minds.

He wanted to deliver the most amazing card that the UFC has ever staged, and he definitely made a splash, the amount of money on the table breaking the records for the venue set by events like the Lennox Lewis/Evander Holyfield clash in 1999.

Of course, regardless of what Dana might say, the UFC event couldn’t quite compete with previous occasions such as when Madison Square Garden hosted Pope John Paul II and Elvis.

The Ali/Joe Frasier fight in 1971 might be the greatest event ever staged at Madison square garden, and it might have been the one event that really brought New York to a standstill.

Conor McGregor’s big night was good but not really great. There were some great fights, but only McGregor’s fight truly electrified the crowds; and even then, McGregor couldn’t quite deliver, and not because he wasn’t trying.

Rather, Eddie Alvarez simply wasn’t up to the task. He froze in the midst of his greatest fight, and that meant that the fight fell short of its more epic counterparts. McGregor kept the crowd going, though, delivering memorable one-liners and hyping the fact that he now had two belts.

McGregor definitely worked his magic, but not to the extent that Dana White seems to think.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: