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Dave Hannigan: If You're Paying Attention Then There's A Whiff Of The WWE Off The UFC

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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When Dave Hannigan sees Conor McGregor, he thinks immediately of Danno O'Mahoney.

A professional wrestler from Ballydehob, O'Mahony became a folk hero in the 1930s.

He was brought to the US by a wily impresario called Paul Bowser, who regarded the existing crop of wrestlers as a dull characterless crew.

Bowser didn't concern himself overly much with O'Mahoney's skill levels. That sort of stuff was only for pedants. He was, however, not to sound too camp, utterly enchanted by his looks and physique.


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Similarly, the UFC have grown weary of the parade of Brazillian champs, all of whom left them footing the bill for a translator at press conferences.

Following McGregor's win over Diego Brandao in the Point two years back, Dave Hannigan sent out this tweet.



He spoke to us on the Racket today.

Absolutely, everything about him has been exaggerated. His talent, the scale of his achievement. I live on Long Island, New York. There's four million people if you don't count Queens. It's the same size as Ireland. For two years, the middleweight UFC champion was a guy called Chris Weidman. Grew up in Long Island, he lives on Long Island, went to college on Long Island where he wrestled. Became a UFC champion, a serious, bona fide champion.

Good guy, apparently, Married with three kids. Good family man, you know, in his community. I don't think I saw five articles about Chris Weidman in Long Island newspapers. Let's put that next to Ireland where people wanted Conor McGregor's face on a coin!

Let's think about that. Long Island, same size as Ireland, same achievement. Yet nothing. No brouhaha, no exaggeration, no believing this is the greatest athlete we've ever produced yet with Ireland's reaction to Conor McGregor, everything is magnified, everything is exaggerated, there's just a complete loss of context and perspective.

He rose up through UFC, which those of us on the outside seem to see as a slickly marketed, well organised where when they have somebody they can sell, they ease their way up the ranks.

I just don't understand the difference between the two.

Like most people, he does not regard Dana White as humble, impartial custodian but an active participant in the sport. He was disquieted by the spectacle of White openly disagreeing with a judge at a recent fight. Above all, he is suspicious of the effortlessness of McGregor's rise to the top.

If you trace the Conor McGregor phenomenon, if you trace his rise, fighters pulling out at the last minute, a lot of fortuitous things happening.

If you go and study Danno O'Mahoney. In the 1930s, Danno O'Mahoney came out of the Curragh where he was in army and became the world wrestling champion, so to speak, out of Boston. And Danno O'Mahoney was celebrated. When you look at the Danno O'Mahoney phenomenon - this is exactly Conor McGregor! They needed a good looking Irish guy back then. Square jawed boy from Ireland who was going to put wrestling right because they needed something for the ratings.

McGregor is exactly that. It's the same thing! They need a guy who can speak, who go in front of the cameras, who can on in the press conferences, and he delivers ratings gold. It's gold. They're viral mania immediately.

The whole thing is so choreographed, so stage managed, so exxaggerated and so overhyped. Conor McGregor is not responsible for this. The media are responsible and specifically the Irish media which has really lost the run of itself in the way they've covered him.

Read more: "Then You're Just Wondering - What's Going On In The WhatsApp Group?"

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