There might be very few people on the planet Earth who do not know about MMA and Ultimate Fighting Champions, popularly known as UFC. Even if you haven’t heard about the UFC, you must have heard or read about Conor McGregor, an Irish MMA champion who clinched the UFC belt twice, making himself the champion of the sport. Everyone knows him as a fierce fighter, but not many know the human being behind that fighter. McGregor Forever, a Netflix Original limited series documentary directed by Gotham Chopra and Darragh McCarthy, is all about the man and his constant strive to be good at what he does best: get into the octagon ring and fight.
Recap: Conor McGregor’s Journey Through Injuries
McGregor Forever begins with a shot of Conor on the floor of the ring, injured, and he cannot seem to get up and finish the fight. The opponent is not revealed. The year is 2021, and the champion, Conor, is down big time. He has been hospitalized, and by the looks of it, it will be a while before he can recover and get back to his usual training. The first episode was all about Conor becoming a reigning champion by winning two belts. There was nothing that could stop him until Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Russian MMA champion, soared in the UFC. All was well between the two when Khabib confronted one of Conor’s teammates, which did not go down well with the reigning champion. He assaulted Khabib’s bus. This attack was taken seriously, and there were charges of assault against Conor. Thus began Conor and Khabib’s rivalry, which escalated to trash-talking against each other, and finally, a match was scheduled between the two. Before the match, Conor refused to sit beside Khabib during the press conference, which escalated the matter. The heated match between the two turned into a fiasco because Conor was defeated by Khabib, and Conor was deemed a champion who had lost touch. Going back to his basics, that is his training. Conor faces his first of many injuries, this one being a finger injury.
McGregor Forever Episode 2 was all about Conor getting back with his family—his second-time pregnant fiancée and son—and Conor making sure to give himself time to rehabilitate from the injury and make sure the injury does not worsen over time. Conor, as a person, does not get bogged down by any injury, for he knows he has seen many defeats in life to reach where he is. One loss to Khabib does not change his motivation to keep training and fighting. This episode also showcased the humble side of Conor, who loved interacting with kids getting into MMA and being a motivator when it came to talking about the sport. The match between him and Donald Cerrone was his make-or-break after recovering from his finger surgery, and the man did not disappoint. Conor won the fight, and there was no looking back for him from then on. With 2020 beginning, the world had come to stand still because of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world. Conor made sure to become a helping hand because he had been raised with a modest lifestyle. He came forward and helped in bulk by providing daily essentials and medical essentials at times of adversity. Conor was one of the richest sportspeople by then, but he made sure to get out there and help people instead of staying in the comfort of his home.
With the world slowly making isolation a priority in the whole of 2020, the third episode talks about Dana White starting something called the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to make UFC a highly controlled sport only meant for broadcast and not the audience around the ring, with Conor recovering from his stupendous win against Donald Cerrone. UFC could not find a slot for the man to offer him any match despite his team repeatedly requesting one. By June 2020, Conor announces his retirement because of the same issue, and he is sure not wanting to look back from this point on. Conor was busy training, but what for? He did not have any goals so far, with no fights lined up. His constant requests made him seem like a fighter in desperate need. This makes Conor approach Dustin Poirier to conduct a charity match at Fight Island. The friendly banter between them is far from his banter with Khabib. The match begins, but pretty soon, Conor faces another injury, this time on his calf, thanks to Dustin’s maneuvers inside the ring. Things look bleak for him from here on, but again, Conor is not ready to give up yet and is willing to fight back.
The final episode of McGregor Forever has Conor recovering from his severe calf injury and getting back to his business, which is constantly training. He is sure he will come out stronger and meaner because there is nothing else he knows to do. Conor is considered a unicorn because he is a unique sportsperson for showing so much determination despite multiple injuries. Conor undergoes rigorous rehab and training for the rematch with Dustin Poirier, but this time there is no friendly banter between the two. There is continuous trash talk between them until the match, and the hype around it is real. As the match commences, Conor is clearly on the offensive side, but pretty soon, he twists his ankle and is unable to get up. This happens to be the first scene of the documentary. With his ankle severely injured, the doctors have recommended he stay away from training and getting into the ring for at least the next six months. Even with the rehab for his injury in progress, his love for the game and his hunger to go back to the ring have not died down. The documentary concludes with Conor being proud of who he is right now and his coaches being happy with what he has become so far. A humble self-made champion whose hunger for the game is far from over. As his last statement says, he is yet to unlock his full potential inside the ring.
As mentioned above, McGregor Forever is an ode to the man and the legend who is not ready to give up yet on his love for MMA. He pushes himself in the best possible way, which makes him a champion and a sports figure people look up to, especially young kids who want to take up MMA. This documentary was accurately able to capture the fan frenzy around the UFC, the next biggest wrestling competition after the WWF of the ’90s. And through UFC, directors Gotham Chopra and Darragh McCarthy portray the life of this man, who is menacing in the ring and equally humble outside it as well. I’m not sure if this documentary is being utilized as PR machinery for Conor McGregor, but it kind of works because, as a viewer who has never seen any UFC match before, this documentary lets us understand the hard work and the strength training that go into making a champion.
Conor is unstoppable and jumps from one place without injury to another, and despite doctors telling him otherwise, he manages to come out to fight, which he claims is the only thing he knows how to do, and he wants to continue doing that. The directors shed all the positive light on the man who is unstoppable even after multiple injuries and losses in terms of the match. Conor makes sure to make himself available and let the world know how much he loves MMA, and he would want to mentor young kids as well. The documentary has a positive effect on many who would like to pursue MMA and ultimately join the UFC. It is fairly good to see a sportsperson as famous as Conor talk about how mental health plays a vital role in making a champion. He stresses the toll mental health issues put on the fighters, and it is indeed important to work on them as well as physical fitness. McGregor Forever has good intentions of showcasing who Conor is, and the kind of trash talking that goes on long before the actual fight. The passive-aggressive interviews and conversations between the two opponents are too real, but this documentary is far from perfect and has its own drawbacks.
In the mood to talk about Conor McGregor, the screenplay of the documentary felt stretched out and lengthy to the point where, in every episode, all they could talk about was how positive the man remains and how hard he worked to reach it. All of this might be true, but again, it becomes repetitive after a point. This point about Conor loving his game to the bitter end has been presented to the viewers using many sentences and various forms. The point has been made clear. It felt like the makers did not have many stories to tell about Conor and the events that have taken place, so they added these pointers at various junctures of this documentary to make it seem like the man is thoroughly passionate about the game. Passion for the game is understandable in real life, but beating around the bush only makes the documentary uninteresting. Netflix, though, is doing a commendable job of bringing sports documentaries to the forefront. It is exciting to hear sportspeople talk about their love for sports and the work they have been putting in for years to finally become champions. The Last Dance, Drive to Survive, and now McGregor Forever bring out the discipline that comes with constantly training themselves mentally and physically, which brings out a better version of themselves. McGregor Forever is not a perfect show, but it is indeed a good watch.