Rileys Reflections: Should MMA Media Grill Conor McGregor?

Disclaimer: This article is an opinion piece.

When Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone was finally announced by the UFC, fans and media alike, seemed overjoyed to have the sports biggest star return. However, with the recent, alleged transgressions of the Notorious one, there was a sense of disgust that was simmering under the surface.

During his time away from the Octagon, McGregor was far from out of the headlines. In 2019 Conor ran into some legal trouble on the 14th of March when he was caught on a security camera smashing a mans phone. Then, to follow up this poor choice he topped it off a little under a month later when he was, once again, caught on camera punching an old man in a bar for declining a shot of his Proper Twelve whiskey.

However, these can be written off as lapses in judgement, which are minor compared to what other legal matters that have been floating around about him. A report hit on the 12th of December, 2018 on the website Irish Mirror, which detailed a rape allegation against a “famous Irish sports star”. While the Irish mirror is considered somewhat of tabloid, other sites such as the Independent, posted about the story the following day.

Just to keep everyone up to speed. In Ireland, sexual assault cases come with anonymity laws which protect the identity of the victim and the suspect. It isn’t until charges are pressed does the name of the suspect get released. From my understanding, the victim can choose to keep all identities anonymous, so there are times when the names will never be released.

Now back on track. It seemed for a while that the main line linking McGregor to this horrible crime was nothing more than a topic floating around Twitter. That was until March the 26th, 2019 when the New York Times reported on the alleged crime and named Conor McGregor in the report.

As the months went by, talk started to die down a little on media platforms as the details of the case and investigation are, as I have stated, under lock and key. On the 19th of October, the New York Times posted again stating the Irish superstar was being investigated for yet another sexual assault.

While all this was hitting the headlines, Conor went radio silent. Not a word from him, just an uptick in his Instagram posts. So as fight week started to draw near, so did the anticipation for McGregor’s interviews. There has been a collection of vocal fans and media members that have been pushing for McGregor to be grilled. They want the media to ask the tough questions and to get to the bottom of this.

I ask the question; why? What is the preferred outcome to these questions being brought up? Conor is never going to dive deep into the details of what has been said and admit to all the wrong doings. Ariel, to his credit, asked the question, and yet people complain about how it was worded.

Conor answered the question in a very formulaic and, almost, rehearsed manner, but this is what was going to happen. Regardless of how this topic was going to be brought up, a canned response masterfully crafted was going to be the answer. The laws in Ireland protect both suspect and victim in these cases, so there’s the possibility that he couldn’t even comment on the details even if he wanted too.

Quite frankly, I worry more for the alleged victims in this alleged attack, I could care-less about McGregor. If this heinous attack happened (He has not been charged for anything and both Conor and his PR team vehemently deny the claims) then there are two very scared, hurt, and traumatized human beings out there. Sure, their identities are masked from public eye, but they are not oblivious to reading the things people are saying about them. There’s a very good chance they’re on Twitter and Instagram and see the endless comments about the alleged incident.

Now, some would like that hornets nest to be kicked, but if I thought hammering Conor with questions would help in anyway with the suffering of those he allegedly attacked, I’d be all for it. The reality is it won’t, not even close.

I’ve written before about the toxicity of the fanbase, so imagine squeezing the fangs of the issue after they have dug in. Injecting more venom into the veins. The more people press on this button the worse it will get for the alleged victims. There’s nothing positive to come from asking Conor these questions, all it will do is bring about more punishment for the people on the other side of the fence. Anyone who has spent anytime around the characters in MMA comment sections on Twitter know what I mean.

If you would like some examples of how low these fans go sometimes, look no further than the Twitter feeds of some of the women in MMA media. Laura Sanko has been asked if a person could ejaculate into her eyes, like really, what the fuck? I hate to picture the inbox of some of these ladies. It’s disgusting what some of these women have to deal with and to think what these same parasites would say to a women who accused their hero of sexual assault.

Ray Borg went so far as to show his medical records after the bus attack due to claims from McGregor fans that he was faking the eye injury to milk McGregor for money. So, God forbid, if they found out who the alleged victims in these cases were.

Remember, this is a sport and while getting to the bottom of a story is important, remember that the people who this story affects the most are out there somewhere. If these attacks were in fact perpetrated, the supposed victims face reality every day in silence, but know that they’re out there. The critiques on their character and the downplaying of what may have happened is out there and it isn’t hard to find. If doing a hit piece would help these people in anyway I would be one of the first to put fingers to keys, but, sadly, I fear anything I say will just light more fuses and send more cannonballs. We need more information before moving forward and we need to let the justice system take its course.

So until next time, enjoy the fights…

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