*A look at the calmness beyond the octagon’s madness*

29620233John Kavanagh…What a guy! Conor McGregor and Coach seem to be an unlikely fit at first. Conor is loud, OTT and aggressive while Coach comes across quiet, calm, collected and level-headed. After reading this book I was happy to learn that John can handle McGregor quite well. And all of a sudden they don’t seem an unlikely pair anymore but actually a perfect fit. This book is a pretty cool look at behind the scenes… the journey of both trainer and fighters trying to make it and keep going against all odds.

As a man, John pretty much built himself up from the ground. A lot of persistence and unwillingness to step away from his dream started delivering satisfying results. But it took a lot of patient persistence.

From fighter to coach, it’s evident that coaching was his true calling. He’s that type of person who ca handle many different and difficult personalities. I found it especially funny when John recalled one of his last fights where he had the opponent submitted and in his head he was giving the guy instructions how to get out of the clinch. “Move your hand here and you could get free!”

The book itself- yeah, it could have been edited to flow a bit better. There was a bit of jumping back and forth topics and some repetition but I guess it does give a feel for an authentic Coach Kavanagh voice. It truly comes across how proud he is of all the fighters he trains and how he supports them 100%. Dealing with a lot of alpha males and their unique personalities certainly takes patience and wisdom. The way he handled some of the situations was just inspiring. That just shows you how much trust and loyalty there can be in between a fighter and a coach, how well they know each other.

The ‘image’ of the sport is a topic, especially in Ireland which John could not avoid addressing in his book. Mixed martial arts is considered by many barbaric and too violent and ‘not a sport’. I have seen John attend various Irish TV shows where he has often been at the receiving end of the rage and ignorant comments from the haters. Never once did Kavanagh fail to offer pretty darn good counterpoints. This is simply John- he doesn’t need to argue with anyone by raising his voice and never has he seemed visibly under duress while giving the topic his own two cents. He is always calm, always confident and comes across nearly gracious at how he tries to explain what MMA or the sport in general means to him or his fighters.

Naturally, some of the fights Coach recalls can’t go without the mention of Irish fans. If you were watching soccer EURO’s this year, I’m sure you heard and saw some of the fighting and rioting happening in between some nationalities. While that ugliness was happening, Irish fans were revving it up by having a mighty good time instead. Singing, dancing, being happy…

During the weigh-ins and fights, the Irish fans are known to lift the roof off the place and really show the whole of UFC what excitement really means. Now, fans need something to keep them fuelled and next to Paddy, Cathal, Artem and Gunnar it has been Conor McGregor who ‘kicked the door down and took over’… The cash cow of UFC. Some people hate Conor’s loud mouth and overly confident attitude. Conor is as witty and quick as they come. I admire it- he saw a business opportunity and he grabbed it. You don’t make money by looking like a silent bystander under the spotlight. And whether you love Conor or hate him, you’re still making him money because you either want to see him win or see him lose.

This autobiography ends on a loss note. Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor in what was a pretty historic fight in the UFC. While Diaz is a 155lb fighter and Conor got his belt after defeating Aldo at 145lb, Diaz and McGregor fought at 170lb. Conor was actually set to move up a weight class to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the belt which COULD have meant, IF Conor would’ve won that fight, that Conor would hold two champion belts at the same time. Something that has never been done in the UFC before. But RDA pulled out due to an injury 12 days before the fight and in stepped Nate Diaz. One way or another, interesting times ahead…

Win or learn…

SBG Ireland definitely applied the win or learn attitude and since the book has been published, Diaz and McGregor had their second fight in which McGregor came out victorious after going the full 5 rounds of proper face-mincing, both guys wobbling on their feet because each can give a punch and also take a punch. Round three… I can’t wait!

Here’s Conor… love him or hate him! Note: some bad language included!

Do you watch UFC? What do you think of the sport?