TV Review: Is Conor McGregor Forever?

McGregor Forever, Netflix

Professional sport is a brutally competitive business, but few are as visceral as cage fighting.

For a while, Conor McGregor was one of the most famous people in the world with a trademark strut, millions in the bank and was seemingly unbeatable in the ring.

However, McGregor Forever (the second Netflix documentary about him) picks up the story as things turn sour for the fighter.

And it’s all the more interesting for it.

It opens with the Dubliner sitting in a hospital bed in 2021 after breaking his ankle in his latest losing fight.

The once impregnable ‘Notorious’ has lost three of the last four and now the 33-year-old is looking at a long recovery or perhaps the end of his career.

He’s expectantly defiant and vows he will return to the octagon while repeating his catchphrase - “It’s McGregor Forever, that’s it … it’s done, it’s McGregor Forever and don’t you forget it.”

But we know that he knows that this could be the end.

We rewind to 2019 and McGregor’s rivalry with Khabib Nurmagedomov, with each of the four-episodes roughly covering one fight.

A clearly nervous and rattled McGregor, who hasn’t fought in two years, goes all Don King in the pre-fight press conference.

“I am going to truly love putting a bad, bad beating on this little glass-jawed rat … his blood will be on the canvas on October 6,” says a highly agitated McGregor, bouncing around the stage taking shots of his own-brand whiskey.

But the hype falls flat and he’s easily defeated by the Russian and it’s back to the start with his long-term group of coaches.

All agree that he wasn’t properly focused for the Nurmagedomov fight, but are confident they know how to get him ready this time.

But now the once indestructible McGregor is picking up injuries.  

He discloates a toe in training for the Nurmagedomov fight, badly injures his shin in the first defeat to Dustin Poirier and damages an ankle practising kicks for the second Poirier fight.

All the signs seem to be telling him it’s time to quit.  

Conor McGregor and Dee Devlin reveal their second child will be a girl
Conor McGregor and Dee Devlin reveal their second child will be a girl Conor McGregor and Dee Devlin reveal their second child will be a girl

His private life appears to be going well as we see him playing with his first-born son, hosting a gender-reveal party for his soon-to-be daughter and enjoying life with his partner Dee Devlin.

UFC commentators repeatedly ask why McGregor is fighting on.

Why would he risk his health in a cage when he has more money than he could already spend and now has a family to care for?

It's one of the great questions of human nature.  Why do the hyper successful, in sport or business, continue long past the point when the rest of us think they have achieved all they can?

Pride, greed, narcissism?  

Perhaps, but the desire to compete is as central to human existence as breathing and McGregor, however repugnant some may find a career spent fighting in a cage, has it in spades.

By the end of the fourth episode we find McGregor working out with his angle and lower leg in a cast.

“There may be a time which I actually can’t f***ing do this.  If that day comes - I don’t feel it will come to be honest, I will always find a way,” he says.  “There’s always a way … if you’re willing, you’re also able, and I’m more than f***king willing.”

A mentor adds: “It’s not about the fame, it’s not about the fortune.  It’s because he has that drive to continue to prove himself .”

We shall see.  McGregor is due to fight again by the end of the year.