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The Biggest Loser From UFC 196? That Would Be Ido Portal

The Biggest Loser From UFC 196? That Would Be Ido Portal
By Donny Mahoney
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The dust has settled on UFC 196 and we can begin to separate the winnes from the losers. Conor McGregor, despite falling victim to that rear naked choke hold, will be alright. He made $8 million. He won plaudits for taking defeat like a man. Andrew McGahon told us on The Racket yesterday he'd likely spend the next two weeks in the States, likely in Vegas, to tie down his immediate future.

One person, though, whose reputation has been seriously tarred by the defeat is McGregor's man bun wearing, pool noodle wielding movement coach Ido Portal. Whether it's the beaches of Los Angeles or MMA gyms around Vegas, the Israeli has been a permanent presence around McGregor in the last few months. To the non-MMA expert, it's hard to deduce exactly what Portal's influence is on McGregor is, although it appears to be instill holistic ninja values at the exact time that other fighters are sparring the bejaysus out of each other.

The Portal effect seemed most obvious during the ring annoucements before McGregor-Aldo. McGregor was bounding around like a puma. Aldo was frigid. We know how the fight played out.

Yet because of his distinct 'Goa yoga teacher/psychic trance DJ' vibe, Portal seems very out of place in the ubermacho MMA milleau. When we was doing beach work with McGregor in LA pre-Aldo with Gunnar Nelson, it reminded this writer of Rocky and Apollo's beach antics in 'Rocky 3'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVY8SbQGW-Y

It certainly seemed to be beautiful bromance, Portal the yin to McGregor's yang.

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In McGregor's grand tradition of inventing history as he conquers, he had put forth the idea that using a movement coach was just another way he was innovating the sport. Interestingly, the Diaz brothers saw Portal's influece as a central weakness and they looked to exploit it at every opportunity.

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At the prefight presser, Nate Diaz was famously at his rhetorical best when he slammed Portal and the 'touch-butt' games that McGregor had been playing

“Who do you train with? You’ve got that little goofy motherf----r with you. I have real training partners,” Diaz said.

“Top 10 fighters, Top 10 boxers, Top 10 jiu-jitsu guys, Top 10 kickboxers. You’re playing touch-butt with that dork in the park with the pony tail. And I’m the one who don’t got no training partners? I don’t think so. You’ve got it all figured out when you’re fighting midgets. You’ve got s--t.”

Portal would later have a cut at vegans, which judging on the result, seems pretty stupid now.

They were also adament that there was nothing revolutionary in the idea of a movement coach.

Here's Nate on Flograppling.com

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“All that movement stuff that Conor is bringing to the table, I was already around that, that’s what inspired us to begin with. They’re acting like he’s ahead of the game,” says Diaz.

“That movement stuff they’ve got going on that they’re trying to preach to everybody, we already got. Rickson Gracie started that, and I’ve got my partner here Kron Gracie, he comes over here and trains with me, helps me out a lot for the fights.”

“I started watching Rickson Gracie’s Choke, and all that workout on the beach. I’ve been there, done that. It’s nothing new to us – you might be fooling all these other people but we ain’t fooled by that.”

When it came to actually fighting Diaz, movement seemed the least of McGregor's problems. The fight seemed much about blunt force than agility. Portal was in McGregor's corner during the fight and he could been seen in McGregor's entourage when leaving the MGM Grand Saturday.

After the fight he posted a Facebook message of his own thanking his fans, another one thanking McGregor and a final one featuring a group for his haters, of which there seem to be a sizeable amount.

When McGregor leveling unbeaten champions in 13 seconds, Portal was some sort of samarui shaman. When he was getting beaten by a man who'd lost 9 times in his career and two weeks previous had been swilling tequilla in Cabo, Portal was a chump. Such is the fight game. It will be fascinating to see whether McGregor sticks with his movement guru or seeks enlightenment elsewhere.

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