Trash-talking has always been staple of sports. Talking jive has been an even bigger deal in the history of combat sports. Some love it and some hate it, but the fact can’t be denied that it usually makes fights more interesting and sells them even more. There is a fine line, though, where that trash-talk shifts from being funny and entertaining to crossing the line, becoming annoying and making someone look like a bully.

As most who have followed my work know, I have an affinity for pro wrestling. My love of that form of entertainment has been with me from a young age, and it brought me into mixed martial arts when the first season of The Ultimate Fighter aired after Monday Night Raw. The love for pro wrestling has always drawn me to MMA fighters who know how to promote the sport and talk up the fights. Growing up, I was drawn to guys like Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. I was even more intrigued by the rise of Chael Sonnen to become one of the biggest draws in the entire sport almost entirely because of his gift of gab. Heck, even some of the recent stuff with Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Rampage or Phil Davis going after Jon Jones—situations that were maligned by most fans and media—got my juices flowing. You might call me a sucker for all of this, but quite frankly it makes the sport interesting.

Then, Monday afternoon came along.

Instead of being thoroughly enthralled with an episode of trash-talking, I was left feeling extremely uncomfortable and, quite frankly, pissed off. The incident I’m referring to took place on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, when the show’s host, Ariel Helwani, had Connor McGregor and Cole Miller on at the same time. Going into the show, I was quite eager for the segment and what the two fighters, who headline the UFC’s return to Ireland in July, would bring to the table. In the beginning, it was quite entertaining. However, as the segment went on, McGregor crossed the line.

It would have been great to hear these guys have an intelligent back and forth. When Miller actually had a chance to speak, the conversation was rational and the trash-talk was good. As the segment went on, however, McGregor simply wouldn’t let Miller get a word in edgewise. All McGregor did was continually devalue his opponent. He spoke about how he wanted a bigger name, and that Miller was just being brought in to take a loss in McGregor’s homeland. McGregor then started to interrupt Miller anytime he spoke, which certainly came across as bullying.

Some people say that it is impossible for a grown man to bully another grown man, especially when the men in question are professional fighters, but the bottom line is that bullying is bullying.

Trash-talking has been a significant factor in making Conor McGregor popular up to this point. His colorful personality is what had fans clamoring to get him into the UFC. The talk even got bigger on the biggest stage. McGregor has become the Michael Bisping of the featherweight division, where it seems like everyone and their cousin is calling him out. McGregor has become somewhat of a regular on one of Ireland’s biggest late night programs, and he is main-eventing a card in only his third Octagon appearance.

On Monday, though, McGregor unintentionally went from being one of the most intriguing men for the future of the sport to possibly becoming one of the most hated men in the sport. On Twitter, even some from McGregor’s native Ireland were turning their back on their countryman. Before Monday, that seemed impossible. Now, not so much.

McGregor brought this on himself during his interview on The MMA Hour. He is still bound for stardom in the UFC, but now people will more than likely tune in to see him fail rather than succeed. McGregor has done nothing but put more pressure on himself. He should win that fight against Miller, but now he has to back up his claim that he will finish it in the first exchange of the first round.

McGregor has crossed the line from being a funny and entertaining guy to nearing the point of being a hated bully. Someone like the aforementioned Sonnen or UFC President Dana White, both of whom have received criticism for their mouths in the past, should talk to McGregor before he reaches the point of no return. After all, everyone loves to hate a good heel, but no one loves a bully.

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.