It's hard not to be shocked by the events of the second round of McGregor-Diaz, when a sure thing was turned on its head after one extended slap. But perhaps the writing always was on the wall.
Two weeks ago, the once-essential American sports institution Sports Illustrated featured Conor McGregor on its cover. It's rare to see a UFC figure on the front of the magazine and this issue of the magazine raised a lot of eyebrows over here because of McGregor's incorrect historical claims. In truth it may be have been a harbinger.
Two weeks later, McGregor has been beaten. In defeat, McGregor has now joined a long line of celebrated sports figures who've suffered unexpected defeat after being celebrated on the cover of SI.
The curse is nearly 70 years old - almost as old as the magazine itself - and features everything from near-death incidents to horrible defeats. Forget the Madden Curse, as the wiki page shows, this is the definitive curse in US sports.
Recent examples include:
- On September 1, 2008, Tom Brady was featured on the SI cover ahead of the new season. Brady tore his MCL in the first game of the year and missed the entire season.
- At the semifinal stage of the 2003 baseball playoffs, SI featured the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox on its cover, two teams blighted by history. Both teams would suffer horrifying defeats to the Marlins and Yankees respectively, even by their own standards.
- In April 1989, SI featured a cover with Green Bay Packers rookie lineman Tony Mandarich with the tagline 'best offensive lineman product ever'. Mandarich is now regarded as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
So rather than blaming Nate Diaz, perhaps McGregor's camp should point their ire at Sports Illustrated.