LAS VEGAS — There he was, at long last, strutting across the stage with a whiskey bottle raised in one hand and his chest puffed toward the rafters. It was 3:26 p.m., almost a half-hour after his scheduled arrival at this press conference preceding UFC 229, though by now most attendees understood that Conor McGregor operates according to his own do-as-I-damn-well-please time zone. And so the crowd roared. And so the cameras flashed. And so he grinned, flexed, handed the whiskey to UFC president Dana White, and grabbed a microphone before even sitting down.
“WHAT’S UP IRELAND? THE IRISH ARE BACK IN TOWN, I F—— LOVE IT.”
No arguments there. Those same compatriots had swarmed Sin City when McGregor boxed Floyd Mayweather last August and now they were back again, flapping tricolour flags and sporting shamrock green rugby jerseys, balling their fists and leading chants of olé! olé! olé! each time their beloved fighter so much as drew breath. It was an overwhelming spectacle for any uninitiated observer on Thursday afternoon inside the 5,200-seat Park Theater, yet entirely routine for devotees of combat sports. After all, no one puts on a show—not even here in Las Vegas—like the man nicknamed Notorious. “The traffic is a little heavy,”