Well, give Sinead O’Connor credit for putting up a better fight against UFC star Conor McGregor than Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone did earlier this year. The Irish singer took on her countryman in a furious Twitter debate over immigration and the coronavirus.
Conor McGregor and Sinead O’Connor spar on Twitter
Conor McGregor is the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion who most recently scored a TKO over Cowboy Cerrone in just 40 seconds. But he started a different sort of fight Wednesday by sharing an article claiming that the Irish agricultural industry was prepared to fly in 1,500 workers to harvest and process fruits and vegetables.
The mixed martial arts star said allowing such immigration during the coronavirus pandemic would “break the chains of all command,” wording that singer Sinead O’Connor found objectionable, possibly on the basis of the chain reference somehow suggesting slavery.
“Where has the real Conor gone?” she asked. “Because I know your mama didn’t raise you to be any kind of racist.” She went on to remind McGregor that he’s “an immigrant worker” in reference to his past nine UFC fights being held in the United States.
McGregor expanded on his concerns by saying that Irish citizens are in the midst of a lockdown through May 5 in which they are not supposed to travel more than two kilometers from home while foreigners continue to arrive by air and sea.
“It is equivalent to pushing and pulling at the same time,” he tweeted. “That command cannot be followed. How?”
One curious aspect of the fight is that it’s not as though Conor McGregor has displayed xenophobic behavior since the start of the global pandemic. Rather, he has repeatedly pushed on social media to promote safe behavior such as quarantining where necessary.
Conor McGregor has not shied away from controversy
Conor McGregor is UFC president Dana White’s No. 1 attraction with his fights featured on five of the six cards that have attracted the largest pay-per-view audiences. However, it may be fair to say that some of the people making the PPV purchases do so in the hope of seeing McGregor lose.
McGregor has been involved in several altercations outside the octagon, the most famous of which was an April 2018 attack aimed at UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor and members of his entourage attacked the bus carrying Nurmagomedov and several other fighters as it left Barclays Center in New York City. As a result, two passengers on the bus were injured by broken glass and had to be replaced on the UFC 223 card.
McGregor was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief plus menacing and reckless endangerment. He was allowed to plead no contest to one count of disorderly conduct and ordered to perform community service and attend an anger management class.
There was more bad blood between the Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov camps during UFC 229 in October 2018. McGregor traded punches with Nurmagomedov’s cousin in the arena and a larger fight ensued. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended both fighters for six months.
McGregor was arrested on both sides of the Atlantic in 2019.
In March he was charged with robbery and criminal mischief in Miami Beach after allegedly taking a man’s phone and smashing it. However, the charges were dropped, reportedly after the district attorney’s office questioned the credibility of the story and McGregor paid for the damage.
In October of that year, McGregor was charged in a Dublin bar fight. McGregor entered a guilty plea and paid a fine.
Sinead O’Connor has had her share of controversy, too
Like UFC fighter Connor McGregor, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor is no stranger to controversy. The most famous incident came during her October 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Performing an a cappella version of “War” by Bob Marley, O’Connor displayed a picture of Pope John Paul II as she sang the word “evil.” She proceeded to rip the photo in front of the camera.
NBC executives disavowed knowledge of the singer’s intentions, which trigged angry calls to the network. While hosting the following week’s show, actor Joe Pesci held up the photo and explained that he had taped it back together.