Saturday 23 March 2019

'Get back fighting for $100m prizes', champion Carruth warns Conor

Conor McGregor arrives at court last week
Conor McGregor arrives at court last week

Olympic boxing hero Michael Carruth has advised Conor McGregor to "get back to fighting" after the UFC star was shrouded in controversy recently.

The past few weeks have been tough for the 29-year-old $100m man after unflattering footage emerged of him shoving a referee at a UFC bout in Dublin.

Then McGregor turned up to court for a speeding fine in a flashy car, sporting a green tracksuit and boasting of his pay packet.

Social media ignited after he was linked to a Crumlin pub fight with a Kinahan gangster's relative.

But sporting veteran Carruth (50), who experienced "microwave fame" after winning a boxing gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, says McGregor has the power to turn all the negative publicity on its head.


"Conor should go back to fighting, it would give him a better focus, give him meaning," Carruth said.

"He's 29 - if he wants to quit fighting, fair enough, but if he doesn't he should get back in the gym, start working his arse off.

"Can you imagine waking up tomorrow morning with $100m (€84.5m). Compare yourself to him, it would be a case of 'I'm not going to work tomorrow, or ever again' for most people.

"It's why we all buy Lotto tickets. We strive for something we'll never get. But what he's done for his sport is nothing short of a miracle, how he's promoted it, got UFC as famous as it is."

But, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The Crumlin fighter has hero status to many children.

"He's been hitting the wrong headlines over the last two or three weeks," said Carruth.

"Conor's one of the biggest figures in the world and every part of him is going to be dissected.

"He's in a tricky position because, if he does anything out of line, it's publicised.

"Lots of people have been caught speeding at some point in their life, but he's getting a bad run of it.

"Obviously Conor's a household name now, so it's up to him to start getting good publicity rather than bad, so the buck stops with him.

"It's possible for him to turn it round. Look at his beginnings, where he came from, to where he is now - it's a total life-changer.

"Before his fame, he was on the dole and now he's commanding $100m purses - it's a huge change in his life that anyone would have to adapt to.

"But he'll be under the hammer for some time because his fame is at its height."

Carruth volunteers five nights a week as a coach for young boxers at Drimnagh Boxing Club. He believes staying focused on sport, the sporting community and by helping others less fortunate could help McGregor gain clarity.

"He could become a coach at his own sport because I don't know what his desire is to fight again, because I suppose when you have $100m in your back pocket it's very hard to motivate yourself," said Carruth.


"Maybe it wouldn't go amiss if he could do a bit of community work too. Homelessness in Ireland is probably at its worst ever. Two people died last week on the streets of Dublin and that really annoys me.

"Conor could wave that magic wand, do some work for the homeless, youth groups. The kids look up to him. He's a role model to so many.

"But he has to do good work for the right reasons and not just to get brownie points."

Carruth said he knew the fighter had already helped charity and he felt this should be remembered and built upon.

"He has to lead his life as a role model," the boxer said.

"He's still family orientated, he still has the same friends he grew up with but the media will always change you, the circumstances of your life, even though you don't think it's changed.

"He has to ride this storm out and come back. It's about staying grounded, adapting, or fame can crush you," he added.

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