Earlier this year, you may remember that, ahead of his UFC 196 showdown with Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. In doing so, McGregor managed to cause ructions in his own, inimitable way, by posting online that he was the first Irishman to appear on the cover of the famous magazine:
(Presumably the lineage he refers to does not include the Scottish part).
McGregor caused outrage with the claim that he was the first Irishman to appear on the cover of the magazine, as this proved to be false. The first Irishman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated was, in fact, Ronnie Delany, back in 1959:
We contacted Delany over the issue back in February, and he offered the following dignified response:
Congratulations to Conor. It's a nice honour for him. Delighted to hear that. I was on it back in '59 I think and I can probably claim to be the first Irishman on the cover. It is the most incredible sports magazine in the world as you probably know.
Delany also admitted he had no interest in the spectacle of MMA.
Perhaps McGregor has learned lessons from the Sports Illustrated saga, or perhaps he feels that there is no need to make the point, but he has yet to tweet his satisfaction at being the First Irishman to appear bollock naked on the cover of ESPN's Body Issue:
— #OTBAM (@OffTheBallAM) July 5, 2016
ESPN also rolled the camera behind the scenes of the photoshoot, which you can watch below:
McGregor may be the first Irishman to appear on the cover of the Body Issue, but he is not the first MMA star: Ronda Rousey appeared on the magazine's front in 2012.