Conor McGregor: Notorious is a documentary that’s built around the UFC fighter who’s gained, well, notoriety over the years for his skill in the cage but probably even more so than that, his sh*t-talking. This year, McGregor made waves by challenging one of the best boxers of all-time, Floyd Mayweather— a fight he claimed he could win despite not having any previous boxing training… a fight he wind up losing but not before going significantly more rounds than he really had any right to.
This documentary follows McGregor’s career VERY loosely before he comes to the USA to fight in the USA and then follows him very closely once that happens.
I went into Notorious thinking that for sure I would hate it but honestly, it was relatively inoffensive given everything that I knew McGregor for prior to watching it (ie. the sh*t-talking). What I got in the film was a weirdly inspirational tale of a fight who wanted to be the best, went out and got it. I say weirdly because McGregor is one of the last people on Earth that I ever thought I would consider rooting for.
It’s definitely self-serving and we don’t really see much of the pre-UFC McGregor in how he rose up. The film we get is McGregor right on the cusp of his fame and then seizing it and moving forward with that momentum. Aside from showing one of his more humbling losses, there’s not really any sort of thing that he overcomes that gives us the satisfaction of seeing how McGregor develops. We don’t see how he started, we don’t understand why and there’s not really a lot of interviews with those around him that gave me any actual insight to who he was as a person. I don’t know if that’s because McGregor is actually very private (which I don’t actually suspect) or whether he’s maybe not as idol-worthy as the documentary would have us believe. The people around him, however, have seemingly been there from the start and maybe there’s something there in that they believed in the places he was going in life.
I will say that I actually found his relationship with his long term girlfriend to be quite endearing. While I’m not entirely sure what her role is in his life in a larger picture sense (or if she lives solely to be his #1 fan), her unwavering support for him was genuinely heartwarming. The way he is clearly devoted to her and that he includes her in his day to day is nice to see too, although again, I have no idea if that’s all she really does.
Conor McGregor: Notorious isn’t necessarily a bad movie but it does feel edited so that you’re getting a much more polished version of his life that’s appropriate for cameras. I wanted to see a little bit of his struggle and not just the cocky facade that we got through most of the film. Maybe he really is like that and doesn’t ever crack, but that seems absolutely impossible and it didn’t emotionally invest me in McGregor’s personal story.
This is kind of tricky because after all was said and done, I didn’t hate it and I had kind of expected to… or more specifically, I expected to hate McGregor. The documentary didn’t shed a ton of light on him— I don’t feel like I know who McGregor is as a person any better than I did beforehand, which is a bit of a problem when you’ve just watched a documentary on someone’s life, but I enjoyed it? I’m very conflicted about all of this…
I would say that if you’re a fan of McGregor and of the UFC, it’s interesting to watch a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff like the training which was… bananas. HE TRAINS SO MUCH. But if you’re not a fan of McGregor, there’s no real story here for you to get invested in.