Film review: An upper-cut above the rest

Film review: An upper-cut above the rest

Conor McGregor: Notorious, out now nationwide, cert 15a, ****

LOVE him or hate him, Conor McGregor is rarely out of the media limelight. From his controversial use of language to his pre-fight trash talk, the man is a whirlwind of energy, someone who has divided the nation.

For many, he has become the greatest Irish man ever to have performed in a sporting arena. Fans spend thousands to join the flocks of Irish at his fights in Las Vegas.

Internationally, non-Irish people don green hats and wave our flag to the thump of his punches, and for Irish Americans, he is like a mythical figure representing all that is good in our nation.

Others are driven demented by the sight of his tattooed chest gracing national newspapers and are left fuming by his loudmouth antics. Brash, uncouth, and rude are just some of the words mentioned by the anti-McGregor camp.

This new documentary, Conor McGregor: Notorious, gives us an in-depth look at his intense training regime, his inhuman ability to deal with pain, and an up-close look at those closest to him.

It is unlikely that there are any readers who have not heard of McGregor but on the off chance... he is an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) sports star who rose up through the ranks of small Dublin rings to become one of the greatest fighters of his generation.

The documentary charts his early days as a young lad, with muscles not so defined, and a face full of pimples — but one thing he has not changed: his loudmouth.

Following his first big win, he danced and hollered all over the ring, only to be chastised by his trainer John Kavanagh — celebrating a win was not something to be shouted about.

McGregor’s opponent had been injured in the bout and Kavanagh expressed the importance of the modest victory. Cleary McGregor did not listen.

He is unapologetic for his brashness and his notorious loud- mouth.

Over the four years that the camera crew followed him, McGregor repeats his mantra that he is in the game to be the best, to make the most money he can and to live the high life. He will not settle for less.

Go big or go home seems to be a phrase coined with McGregor in mind.

We chart his successes through his change of cars, from a little run-around to big shiny road hogs. He goes from living with his parents to one of many massive mansions which he nicknames the “McMansions”.

His training regimen is extraordinary. Like him or not, his dedication to his profession cannot be denied.

He works out like a man possessed, working through the pain of more than one brutal injury. Indeed, his ability to work through injuries surprises both his trainers and medics. He seems more machine than man.

By his side through all of McGregor’s ups and downs is girlfriend Dee Devlin. The couple comes across as friends with a solid relationship. She is the first in the room after a fight and stays with him throughout every push-up, every press call and every change of wardrobe.

Director Gavin Fitzgerald gets us right into the action in the ring and does not shy away from the brutality of the fights. Blood splatters and faces are torn open.

This will not be for everyone. The blood will make it hard for some to watch.

The anti-McGregor camp will not be swayed — this showcases every swagger.

For the fans who cannot get enough of McGregor, they will have their fevers fuelled.

For everyone else, the adrenaline-fuelled and often humorous look at the life of McGregor will make for entertaining viewing.

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