'Conor McGregor: Notorious' film review

Paul Zanon
31/10/2017 1:17pm

Paul Zanon reviews the new documentary about MMA star Conor McGregor, who took on boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in August...

Very few films grab your attention in the first 30 seconds and then keep you fixated for the balance of their running time.

'Conor McGregor: Notorious' does.

notiorus2 2From the moment the opening credits come up, you’re propelled into some slow-motion, bone-crunching action, with McGregor dishing out punches, as well as being on the receiving end of some punishing elbows, during his rematch against Nate Diaz.

But before you’re treated to relive that epic bout, you're taken back four years and get to walk through McGregor's journey that has led him to his current level of worldwide fame.

Whoever decided to start filming McGregor in 2013 was an unknowing visionary. Aged 25, living at his mother’s house in the spare room with his girlfriend, claiming benefits and with debt collectors on his heels, McGregor’s deep-rooted belief that he would climb the ranks of the MMA echelons kept him focused.

The expression, ‘Access all areas,’ is a common one in press circles, but it doesn’t normally ring true.

In this film, however, it does.

We see McGregor draining weight in the days before a fight, to the point that we barely recognise his skeletal like features. In addition, we see and hear about the injuries McGregor was carrying in advance of a number of his fights. Injuries he decided to keep quiet from the general public, in order to secure the paychecks to improve his family’s life.

The strapline for the film is: ‘If you want it all, You have to fight for it,’ which captures the essence of McGregor’s formidable work ethic perfectly.

Working his way up to seven figure purses, McGregor has always been a performer who defied the odds - knocking out UFC legend, Jose Aldo, for example, with his first strike. Prior to that sensational result, Aldo has been undefeated for ten years.

A sensational two-fight blockbuster against Nate Diaz was arguably McGregor's biggest test to date. After losing the first encounter, McGregor came back from the jaws of defeat in the rematch to claim revenge before going on to best Eddie Alvarez and add a UFC lightweight title to his featherweight crown.

Picking up the spoils of war along the way, having just turned 29, millionaire McGregor increased his bank balance hugely by managing to create enough noise to bring pound for pound boxing legend Floyd Mayweather out of retirement for an August 2017 boxing contest in Las Vegas. Despite losing via tenth-round TKO, McGregor's bank balance, media presence and overall standing across on the planet were vastly inflated in the process.

The McGregor who emerges from this film is a character not of arrogance, but confidence. His love of his family, Ireland and MMA seems to be what keeps him grounded. The rest? It's all for show.

‘Conor McGregor: Notorious,’ is, quite simply, a fantastic fly-on-the wall biopic, with everything you’d expect from the man from the Emerald Isle. It shines a torch into many of the darker corners of his life. Dare I say it, but it's the best MMA documentary to date, and certainly worth a viewing by boxing fans too.

Conor McGregor: Notorious is in cinemas from 1 November and available on DVD & Digital Download from 20 November.