Conor McGregor has become a darling of the far right
McGregor’s anti-migrant sentiments coupled with Irish police investigating him over “hate speech” has cast the former UFC champion as an unlikely figurehead for the far right.
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In his address to the Dáil—the lower house and principal chamber of Irish legislature—on Wednesday, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called out Conor McGregor alongside far-right groups who are suspected of being involved in the Dublin riots.
“There are celebrities such as Conor McGregor, a gobdaw, and people in this Chamber who use the words ‘criminality’ and ‘immigration’ in the same sentence as often as they can to get some cheap political gain for themselves.”
The former UFC champion caused outrage when he tweeted that Ireland was “at war” in the lead-up to the riots. In the aftermath of the chaos, he followed up by tweeting “you reap what you sow.” McGregor had previously spent weeks stoking anti-migrant sentiments on social media, including endorsing a “task force” to monitor migrants.
Ó Ríordáin isn’t the only Irish politician who called out McGregor for his role in stirring anti-migrant sentiments in the lead-up to the Dublin riots. Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who serves as Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, called McGregor’s comments “absolutely disgraceful”
While McGregor has since stated that he does not “condone” the riots, he is one of several individuals currently being investigated by Irish police amid concerns of “hate speech.” The investigation, coupled with McGregor’s continued attacks on the incumbent Irish government, have cast him as an unlikely martyr for the far-right.
Among the media platforms that reported on the investigation was Infowars, the American conspiracy theory website owned by far-right agitator Alex Jones. The website, which has published conspiracy theories alleging that the U.S. government falsified the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and the September 11 attacks, argued that the Irish government was more interested in policing McGregor’s “thought crimes” than protecting people from “migrant-driven violence.”
Chaya Raichik, the woman behind the anti-LGBTQ+ social media account Libs of TikTok, also expressed outrage about McGregor’s ongoing investigation.
“Ireland is falling…” she tweeted.
Other far-right figures have since offered their support for McGregor. British far-right influencer Carl Benjamin shared a cartoon of a child being stabbed by a dark-skinned man that read: If this makes you angry, then you are far-right. He labeled the post “average far-right MMA champion.”
Britain First leader Paul Golding posted an AI illustration of McGregor leading a riot and called for the fighter to organize a “freedom march.” McGregor responded by condemning rioting before adding that “there will be change in Ireland, mark my words.”
During his show this week, Nick Fuentes—the neo-Nazi behind the America First movement—called for McGregor to “rise up” and take back Ireland.
“It’s either going to be the Irish or it’s going to be the blacks,” Fuentes said. “Only one side is going to come out of this alive.”
McGregor’s tweets have also become popular among neo-Nazi groups with a penchant for MMA, including German entity Kampf der Nibelungen. The group shared several of McGregor’s tweets in their Telegram channel, including one where the fighter called for a “task force” for all entrants coming into Ireland and demanded that the Irish government “correct this or you are all finished.”
There is also an AI generated illustration of McGregor holding a shotgun and leading an army of angry gun-wielding men waving Irish flags that is currently making the rounds on platforms such as 4chan, Gab, and Twitter.
Even Elon Musk has thrown his weight behind McGregor. When conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong tweeted that McGregor should consider running for office, Musk chimed in, stating, "not a bad idea."
Musk is also facing backlash after he appeared to endorse a racist and antisemitic conspiracy theory known as "white genocide," which argues that Jewish people systematically plot to encourage immigration of "non-white" people to Western countries in order to "eliminate" the white race. The White House was among those who denounced Musk’s endorsement.
While McGregor’s recent deluge of anti-migrant posts coupled with the ongoing investigation into his social media has made him a sympathetic figure among the fringe right, it is worth noting that more moderate voices have also raised concerns about the Irish police’s decision to investigate the fighter.
During a panel discussion on Piers Morgan’s Uncensored show, political journalist Ava Santina said that McGregor being investigated over a social media post sets a dangerous precedent in Ireland. Morgan shared her opinion.
Several months ago, Ireland proposed its first piece of legislation dedicated to combating hate speech. While freedom of speech is protected under both the Irish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, the new legislation would criminalize the incitement of hate or violence against others, including hatred against persons based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability or religion.
The proposed bill prompted reactions from the likes of Musk, who called it a “massive attack on freedom of speech” and threatened legal action to threaten the laws from coming into effect. Donald Trump Jr. also voiced his opinion on the new legislation, , writing: "It’s insane what’s happening in the “free world”."
In Ireland, some critics of the bill feared the lack of detail on terms such as “incitement” could lead to a disproportionate response, as well as the potential overreach of Irish police.
Meanwhile, McGregor suggested Wednesday that the Irish government is attempting to use him as a scapegoat in the wake of the riots.
"Truth they don't want to speak," Mr McGregor posted on Twitter. "Attempt to scapegoat me all you wish."
While it remains unclear whether McGregor will face any charges following the investigation, there can be no doubt that his spiral from UFC stardom to an emblem embraced by far-right ideologues is the latest stain in a career plagued with scandals, controversies and crimes.
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