McGregor vs. Trump: Now that I’d pay to see

September 5, 2017

How well did you pay attention while following the news recently? Here’s a quiz. Who was quoted in the media as saying “What a crowd, what a turnout”?

Was it a) Bill Nye referring to 13,000 folks gathered in a field to watch the eclipse in Nebraska, b) Conor McGregor as he gazed upon 20,000 fans in T-Mobile Arena for the big fight, or c) President Trump greeting around 200 rain-soaked Houstonians seeking words of comfort and reassurance during his Hurricane Harvey visit?

If you’ve lived in the United States over the last eight months, you know the answer.

What a crazy couple of weeks! Following nearly in the shadow of the eclipse comes the big fight, the Thrilla’ in Vanilla, the Bungle in the Jungle, Mayweather vs. McGregor!

It was a completely senseless matchup, but both fighters achieved their goals: Mayweather is now able to pay the $22 million in back taxes he owes, and McGregor can finally afford that purple mink coat he’s been eyeing.

McGregor is a great self-promoter. On his Facebook page you will see pictures of a shirtless Conor driving, a shirtless Conor dancing, a shirtless Conor drinking, a shirtless Conor studying directions on how to put on a shirt, etc. At only 5’ 9” tall, Conor resembles a leprechaun who gets tattoos in bulk at Costco.

McGregor is a very successful UFC fighter. If you have never watched a UFC match, it sort of resembles cockfighting, except the two fighting roosters would be wearing real tight shorts.

I have to admit that I just do not get the sport. One fighter sitting on another while waling away on his or her head—how does one train for that? I’d sure hate to be a UFC sparring partner!

I’d say that UFC is like a barroom brawl compared to the finesse and patience required to succeed at professional boxing. Once McGregor stepped out of the UFC octagon and into a boxing ring, it was a classic example of a “fish out of water.” And in this case, the fish also happened to be stalked by a real mean cat.

Keep in mind that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was well past his prime at 40 years old and not having fought for two years. Nevertheless, UFC champion McGregor resembled a boxing novice in a matchup that he repeatedly vowed to win.

And, boy, did Conor talk big to generate pre-fight interest: “I believe I’ll knock him out early, one or two rounds”; “Trust me, I’m going to stop Floyd.” But reality hit around the fourth round, along with a flurry of lefts and rights. From that point on, Mayweather simply toyed with the challenger.

Self-promotion, bragging, and name-calling were enough to help Conor McGregor secure the spotlight and financial payoff that he sought. But the fight itself was a flop, and entering a realm of competition that McGregor was unprepared for was a mistake.

It appears that President Trump is caught in a similar situation. Trump scored big as a businessman because he could hire a team of lawyers to make deals, architects to design buildings, and construction crews to build them. All Trump had to do was slap his name on the hotel facades. And if he made an error in judgment, the only thing it hurt was his bank account.

But just like boxing, the role of president requires finesse, patience, and the ability to carefully analyze situations, all traits Donald Trump clearly lacks. He thinks that solutions to every problem are just a tweet away.

Even when attempting to comment on the death and destruction of Hurricane Harvey, President Trump sounds more like Conor McGregor promoting his next big shot at glory: “There’s probably never been anything like this”; “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!” It’s “epic” “historic” and the “biggest ever.” It’s almost as if Trump is proud and taking credit for the hurricane!

Adding to his bizarre hurricane observations, Trump, faced with an opportunity to point out specific help FEMA was providing to reassure hurricane victims, instead boasted that FEMA Administrator Brock Long “really has become very famous on television in the last couple of days.” Oh, I’m sure that was real comforting for Texas folks.

And what exactly can one make of the fact that when the president was asked why he chose to announce his pardon of controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio just as Harvey was about to make landfall in Texas, Trump replied “I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally” due to so many people watching hurricane coverage on television.

Has the job of President of the United States regressed into a television ratings war? Is being a leader just about who has the most Twitter account followers? Or who can get the biggest crowds at their rallies?

It seems that Conor McGregor and President Trump have certain traits in common. McGregor is a great self-promoter who fails to carry out his promises. Likewise, Trump appears to be the P.T. Barnum of U.S. presidents. Instead of “Make America Great Again” his presidential motto should be “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Mike Murphy of Pocatello is an award-winning columnist whose articles are syndicated by Senior Wire. He recently published a book titled “Tortoise Crossing — Expect Long Delays,” which is a collection of 100 of his favorite columns. It is available on Amazon.com.