An Open Letter to Conor McGregor and the UFC: After Trump/Clinton, I’m Ready for a Real Fight

On Saturday, ultimate fighters McGregor and Eddie Alvarez face off in the UFC 205 lightweight championship in New York’s Madison Square Garden, and Haaretz correspondent Mike Dagan will be there to see it.

UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor takes part in UFC 205 Open Workouts at Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2016 in New York City. McGregor, bearded, bare-chested and heavily tattooed,pumps a fist in the air.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Dear Conor McGregor,

I know, the fact that your name appears at the top of this letter will presumably surprise or even baffle some people. Never mind. Now that the dust has settled from the “battle” between a stupid rich man and a smart rich woman, and now that the stupid man won, we can finally turn to the real thing: your challenge of Eddie Alvarez for the UFC 205 lightweight championship Saturday in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Because I am making the long trip from Tel Aviv to watch the fight, I permit myself a few requests from you.

First, you threatened to end the fight in the first round. Why? A guy flies 12 hours, the fight could continue for five rounds of five minutes each, 25 minutes not counting the rest periods between rounds. Give me at least two rounds.

In fact, it would be poetic justice for you to finish the fight in 8 minutes, 1 second. Alvarez, the reigning lightweight champion Alvarez, said at the press conference that you only have eight minutes of fight in you. What could be sweeter than a catastrophic left hook to his jaw, timed just so? I know that you have burning faith in that left hand and I say: 8.01 is the moment for you to strike with all your might.

Eddie Alvarez acknowledges fans while working out ahead of his UFC 205 mixed martial arts bout against Conor McGregor during an open workout, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Julio Cortez / AP

Next request: Your fights against Nate Diaz gave me a slight ulcer (the result of passive fighting or fighting by proxy, a phenomenon that has been identified in the professional literature). After you went up from featherweight to lightweight, I asked you to stop skipping between weight classes. And especially, no more welterweight. Your surprising loss to Diaz showed that you’re human, an undesirable and not at all obvious situation, and can be choked. The sight of you tapping his choke-holding arm as a sign of submission was unbearable. True, you won the rematch (by a split decision, how shameful), but that was the first crack in the superhuman image you had managed to create in your series of amazing featherweight victories. I’m not flying for 12 hours, 14 hours door-to-door (so far the flight is on-time), for someone who could lose just like that. I demand that you again justify the Irish flag on your back on the way to the arena, and get back the crazy spark you brought to the fight. That’s New York, that’s Madison Square Garden, and as you said, with typical understatement: “The Irish, we built this damn town,” adding that if he ended up holding both belts he would “wrap one on one shoulder, another on the other shoulder, and they’re going to need a f****** army to get them off me.”

Alvarez, a tough guy from Philadelphia, Rocky Balboa’s town, with quite a knockout capability, won’t give you the second belt without a serious fight, but it’s your standing as a living legend that’s being put to the test now — please take care of it.

My last request, from the world of good manners: It wasn’t nice of you, at the press conference for this historic UFC event, to turn to your colleague Jeremy Stephens, who comes to Madison Square Garden after a 23-year career and contends three times (!!!) for the championship belt — and say, with a slight backward move of your upper body, your eyes narrowing in his general direction under your ubiquitous sunglasses: “Who the f*** is that guy?” Then he said that his knockouts were harder-hitting than yours in his class (featherweight). So what? You’re the champ in that class. And who’s he? Not so clear. Is that reason to humiliate him so badly in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, even before the fight? Really, come on now. I expect more from a level-headed guy like you, in such a square profession.

So that’s it, Conor, because it’s clear to me that a rational guy like you supported Hillary Clinton, I’m looking forward to celebrating the revenge of Donald Trump’s victory, when you’ll be truly unforgettable — the first to hold the championship belts in two UFC weight classes.

I permit myself to present further demands as circumstances require, but bye for now.

Your anonymous friend from the duty-free area of Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Mike Dagan