My first reaction to the Conor McGregor incident on Thursday in Brooklyn is to call BS. I’ve watched enough so-called backstage incidents at WWE events that I’m not surprised when stuff like this happens. Now that charges have been filed, it’s up to UFC president Dana White to immediately part ways with McGregor. Otherwise, I’m suspicious about everything coming out of this story.
But this brings up a much larger issue, and one unfortunately not confined to sports coverage.
So-called press conferences have been turned into social gatherings and have brought out some of worst types of personalities.
Rather than a press conference being an opportunity to conduct interviews, answer questions from legitimate sources seeking legitimate answers to legitimate questions, these events have now been defaulted into a chance to exploit. sell and otherwise manipulate potential consumers or purveyors to conjure up the most ridiculous of theories or stories.
According to multiple sources, the people involved in this skirmish in the bowels beneath the Barclays Center were so-called "credentialed journalists" representing a website promoting McGregor.
The distribution of press credentials to the most unworthy of people, the blurring of the line between actual, factual journalism and the nonsense spewed forth on websites designed with nothing more than for the purpose and creating shocking "stories" generating click-bait and retweets. This is the world we live in.
I know this is going to make me sound like a sour old man, and maybe I am to some degree, but I've seen enough circus clowns and heard enough carnival music to know when the illusion of what's real is actually more dangerous than reality itself.
Did the UFC really take a page from the playbook of WWE? Was all of this just a work to promote a future fight card and to keep the UFC relevant this weekend with WrestleMania likely to steal the thunder from the mixed martial arts organization?
Even if UFC president Dana White formally went on television today, this moment, to announce that McGregor was suspended or fired from the company, would we as consumers not think back to other so-called "firings" on WWE television programs?
I've watched wrestling personalities "get fired" on national television, and then appear back on that same program the following week.
And while one promotion is clearly designed to be a scripted piece of work and is totally performed for the purposes of entertainment only, I'd argue the WWE at least has made it abundantly clear what it is intended to be, and that most of its consumers are well aware of the fictional nature of its characters.
I'd further suggest that if the UFC wants to continue down this path, it diminishes itself of any form of legitimacy.
Things Didn't Go Well for Sergio Garcia
Last year's Masters champion Sergio Garcia has more than cemented his legacy.
By winning one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, Garcia will never have to question -- or be questioned by anyone for that matter -- his status as one of the best to ever play the game.
But even the best in any business can have a bad day.
Garcia's chances of repeating as Masters champion went right out the window when he fired a 9-over par 81 in Thursday's opening round.
And as bad as that sounds (trust me, it sounds bad), it all came down to the Par 5, 15th hole, otherwise known as Fire Thorn.
Garcia was facing a tough shot from a bit of distance towards the green while needing to clear a pond.
Needless to say, it didn't go well the first time.
Nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth or fifth time.
The 13 scored by Garcia on the par 5, 15th hole is tied for the highest score ever recorded on a hole in the Masters.
Oh yeah, for the record, Jordan Spieth leads the tournament heading into the second day.