“If you’ve been a fan of this sport long enough, you’ve no doubt tried to spread the gospel of violence to friends and family. You convince them to watch a fight with you, show them highlight videos on YouTube to get them excited for it and hope for the magic of the sport to reveal itself come fight time. If you can’t make them diehard fans, at least you can turn them into casual appreciators of an otherwise off-putting sport. When it works, it’s great. When it flops, it’s a specific kind of shame, an embarrassment that feels less like bad luck than an indictment of your character.
The worst time that happened to me was when Mirko Filipovic fought Gabriel Gonzaga for the at UFC 70. After hyping “Cro Cop” to my friends for weeks and subjecting them to dozens of head-kick compilation videos, he went out and got demolished in ironic and ignominious fashion, suffering the same fate he had dished out countless times prior. For my friends, that was their introduction to “Cro Cop,” and it stuck. No matter how many old fights I showed them, it couldn’t supplant the experience of watching him become irrelevant in real time.
I’ve thought of that moment a lot lately as I’ve watched Conor McGregor — the first simultaneous two-division titleholder in Ultimate Fighting Championship history — gradually devolve into a Twitter troll…”