Whatever you’re doing right now, stop doing it. If you’re a surgeon, put down your scalpel; if you’re a miner put down your shovel; if you’re a parent, put down your kid. Then click the video below and give up an hour of your time to a good cause: the debut of Notorious, a documentary about UFC featherweight sensation Conor McGregor. You won’t regret it. No man who looks as good as McGregor does in a bow tie and sounds as clever in a deep Irish brogue could fail to entertain on a Friday afternoon.
Notorious was shot during the run-up to McGregor’s fight against Max Holloway in Boston last August, just four months after the Irishman’s much-anticipated UFC debut. That debut was a singular moment for the UFC—rarely, if ever, has a fighter made such an immediate impact on the sport as Conor McGregor or become so popular so quickly--and Notorious, for all its requisite scenes of sparring, conditioning, and training sessions, is fundamentally about fame, and the suddenness of fame, and the responsibilties that come fame.
Notorious charts McGregor's unprecendented rise, from his post-debut admission that he was still on welfare to his new life filled with fine cars, tailored suits, lavish trips around Las Vegas with UFC president Dana White, and promotional duties. Always promotional duties. Watching McGregor jump from photo shoots to TV appearances to radio shows to interviews to more photo shoots, I was reminded of the 1998 Radiohead documentary Meeting People Is Easy, about the English band's attempts to deal with the swamping, exhausting quicksand of sudden fame. But where the members of Radiohead sank under all that exposure (making for one of the more depressing rock documentaries ever made), McGregor seems to thrive in the spotlight, like Muhammad Ali. He gets energy from the attention; he feels most at home when a camera crew is with him and he's free to talk about his most-cherished subject: himself.
During the Holloway fight, McGregor suffered a knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines ever since. And though it looks like he’ll be back in the Octagon within a few months (and though his recovery has given him yet one more thing to applaud himself about), it has also served as reminder both to him and to anyone fascinated by him that any fighter's career can end for good in a flash. One wrong move in the cage or the gym and all the cars, all the clothes, all the attention can disappear as fast as they arrived. So it’s hard to blame McGregor for living it up while he can. Tomorrow he could be back on the dole. You never know.
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