Paddy Pimblett Uses Banner to Call Out Conor McGregor During Europa League Final
Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett has done most of his self promotion with a microphone pointed at his face after adding another win to his 10-1 professional record. ‘The Liverpool Lip’, as he has come to be known, has shown a great flair for the trash-talking element of the sport, but this weekend he kicked up his marketing game to a new level.
As tens of millions of people tuned into watch the 21-year-old’s beloved Liverpool Football Club take on Sevilla in the Europa League final last night, a banner displaying a picture of Pimblett and one of his famous lines (McGregor, you’re getting smoked lad) appeared behind the advertisement hoardings about halfway up the pitch.
Liverpool were bested on the night 3-1 to the Spanish side, and one fan even remarked on Twitter that seeing Pimblett’s banner was the only conciliation he took from the night.
Pimblett revealed that the banner was made by a close friend of his because he had been let down on a ticket for the European clash in Basel.
“The person I was supposed to be going over with, he’s a good friend of mine and he’s one of my sponsors, he said that because I wasn’t able to go to the game he would make a banner for me to put beside the pitch while the match was being played,” explained ‘The Baddy’.
“I just thought he was saying that to be nice, but then he sent me a picture of it! The first idea was to have ‘Paddy The Baddy Is Going to Get You’ written on it, but in the end they went with ‘McGregor You’re Getting Smoked Lad’, because I said that before in an interview.”
The young Brit’s machismo in front of a camera has brought a lot of attention his way. As he pointed out, there is nothing forced about the persona that we see when he conducts interviews. He claimed he was exactly the same person the first day he ever walked into Next Generation Liverpool six years ago.
“I’ve always been a wind up merchant,” he said. “As soon as I came into Next Generation when I was 15 years old I was winding people up and getting choked unconscious to be taught a lesson. As soon as I woke up I would be back at it again. People got the message then, no matter what they said to me I’d stay the same. I’m a good guy really at heart, though. In saying that, if you get on the wrong side of me it can get dangerous very quickly.”
Pimblett understands something that a lot of people don’t. Once people are talking about you in mixed martial arts, you’ve already got half the battle won. A lot of Irish fans have taken exception to the young prospect because of his belief that he would beat McGregor if they ever met. Some fighters have buckled under the pressure and lashed out at the Dubliner’s passionate following, but Pimblett seems to be too busy laughing to engage in a similar kind of reply.
“No reaction is a bad reaction, whether it’s positive or negative. Once I have got the reaction, once I’ve got the people talking, that’s all I’m worried about. Like they always say, any publicity is good publicity.
“I laugh my head off reading the things that the Irish fans sent after I said I’d smoke McGregor. It’s proper hilarious. It’s like they all think they’re his mate or something. When they reply they’re so upset it’s like I’m after threatening to beat their mate up. They think they’re proper close to him, it’s funny.
“It’s like he’s everyone’s cousin. Honestly, I think everyone on Twitter is McGregor’s cousin,” he laughed. “They tell me ‘you won’t do that’. Who won’t? We’ll see when I get over there won’t we? Because it’s going to happen if he doesn’t become a movie star by then.”
Pimblett has never pulled any punches when it comes to discussing the polarizing featherweight champion, but he does respect what he has done in the sport. Having made a whole nation aware of MMA in Ireland, Pimblett wants to do something similar for the British market.
“I want to be the English version of him in terms of turning people on to the sport in the UK. In Ireland, MMA is one of the biggest sports over there now. Over here, people still call MMA ‘cage fighting’. We’ve still got leaps and bounds to go.
“I want to make it blow up over here. I want to be the biggest sports person in the UK in about five years time, just like he has become in Ireland. I know I’m going to do that in my heart.
“After the last fight, I’m getting recognized more and more. Someone said to me yesterday in training that their mum-in-law shared one of my posts on Facebook. This woman doesn’t even know what MMA is but she was still sharing my post. She doesn’t know MMA, but she knows me.”
After the grappling clinic he put on against British veteran Ashleigh Grimshaw at Cage Warriors 75 last month, a lot of people believe that Pimblett is on the verge of signing for UFC. He may not have had any contact with the organization, but he is certain that the top brass of the promotion know who he is.
“I don’t think I have to fight again to get signed, but there’s nothing else I want to do. I like to fight so I’m going to keep fighting until I get signed.
“They know who I am. I don’t need to be made aware that they know who I am. Sean Shelby, Dana White, even Joe Silva, they all know who I am. They’ve all heard of ‘The Baddy’, there are no two ways about it.”
Check out this related story:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.