Conor lost but broke barriers - local MMA fighters
JAMAICAN mixed martial artists said the recent boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor has done a lot to increase the profile of mixed martial arts (MMA) locally.
McGregor, more known for MMA, lost what was his first professional boxing match to Mayweather, who now has a record of 50-0, in a 10th-round technical knockout decision.
Mixed martial artists Matthew Colquhoun, Anthony Robinson, Aljamain Sterling and Alrick Wanliss said despite McGregor losing, there was good to come from the match.
"Did you see the crowd watching the fight?" Colquhoun asked. "There was a lot of crowd and a lot of people, and it was being explained to them and broken down, what MMA is and what boxing was."
Colquhoun said one thing that annoys MMA fighters is the sport being confused with kickboxing.
"It's not kickboxing, it's MMA, it's what it is, you know. It inspired a lot of people, it inspired me."
"It definitely opened the eye. When people go look up Conor McGregor they see Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) and they see MMA," Robinson said. "They'll see Jamaican UFC fighters. It all links together and it opens up opportunities."
Sterling, an UFC fighter like McGregor, said boxing fans did not give MMA fighters the credit they deserve.
"We spar with boxers. A lot of us are sparring with high-level boxers," he said. "Obviously, we're not gonna be as dominant in the boxing realm, just because we're not doing it five or six days a week like they are, but at the same time we're confident and we can definitely compete.
"Conor went in there and did what he was supposed to do, compete with the best in the world. Like a warrior, he wanted to go out on his shield. I kinda wish the ref let him get knocked down or really get finished. That's the way we fight. You fight until the ref drags you off and that fight is done."
Wanliss agreed, praising McGregor for taking the opportunity to make US$100 million from the event.
"It's very good that his professional debut was against Mayweather but his chances of winning were very slim," he said. "I think it was a good opportunity for him to make a lot of money and that's what he went in and did."