Conor McGregor's knockout of Jose Aldo has brought increased interest in this year's RTE Sports Person of the Year awards. Mick Conlan had been the immediate favourite to win the award following his gold medal win at the World Championships in Dubai but McGregor's win over Aldo has sent a shockwave through Irish sport. The debate over whose achievements are more impressive - Conlan's or McGregor's - have been raging on social media all week.
The RTE Sportsperson of the Year awards will take place on Saturday night at Montrose, and McGregor is one of 14 athletes nominated, along with Rory McIlroy, TJ Reid, Andy Lee and others. McGregor had been nominated last year, and chose not to attend in controversial circumstances.
Sources have told Balls.ie today that there is real hope that McGregor will be available to attend the ceremony Saturday night. However, when asked for a comment, the RTE press office said that they are not in a position to confirm the attendance of guests on the night. "Due to the live nature of the show it's not possible to confirm attendees beforehand," a spokesperson said.
McGregor is due back in Dublin before Christmas and the city council will stage a civic reception for him.
McGregor famously did not attend last year's RTE Sportsperson of the Year and made the following provocative statement on his facebook page about his decision not to attend.
"I appreciate the curiosity about my absence from these 'Sport Awards'. Credit with RTE however, is not what I seek. It is cash.
"And as Executive Producer of my 6-part series 'NOTORIOUS', airing January 26th, cash is what they pay.
"If it's PURE Sport you want though. The ORIGINAL sport of the Human Race. The Sport of Unarmed Combat. The Sport of Survival. The Sport before the term 'Sport' was even created...
"Catch 'UFC Fight Night Boston: McGregor - Vs - Who gives a f*** we are still watching.' LIVE and EXCLUSIVE to Setanta Sports and 3e Sports respectively. This coming January 18th.
On Balls.ie yesterday, Cllr. Kenneth Egan made his case for why Mick Conlan should win the award over McGregor.