The rise of UFC great, Conor McGregor was witnessed by many fans all over the world.
But his prominence brought a special kind of joy to a young boy, who followed The Notorious‘ progress from his home in Ireland, while he bravely battled terminal cancer.
Footage has recently re-emerged showing McGregor remember the friendship he struck up with 14-year-old fan, Brendan McGlone, from Caledon, Co Tyrone, over the phone, days before the teen sadly passed away in July 2015.
— Brendan Mcglone (@mcglone_brendan) June 9, 2015
Before his featherweight title fight against Chad Mendes at UFC 189, back in 2015, the Dublin fighter received a call that made him vow to take the belt back to Ireland for Brendan, who was battling stem cell leukaemia.
Someone from the Make A Wish Foundation had reached out to the then-fledgling athlete on behalf of the sick youngster, whose dying wish was to talk to his Irish sporting hero, none other than Conor McGregor.
McGregor, now a father himself, spoke to Michael Landsberg on TSN‘s Off the Record, which you can watch below:
The 28-year-old, then 26, became visibly emotional when he recounted his conversation with Brendan, saying:
His last wish is to talk on the phone to you, so I rang the kid and we talked for a long, long time. I talked with his friends in the hospital, and his family.
Today – or last night – he passed away and it fucked my head up because this little kid is in Ireland and I’m telling this kid ‘I’m gonna take this belt and I’m gonna bring this belt to ya and we’ll raise the belt’ [sic].
And I woulda done it, I woulda flew him out here to Vegas… I dunno.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 9, 2015
Lamenting the ‘really sad situation’, Conor added:
It’s heartbreaking. I have lost family members to cancer and it is a horrible, horrible thing.
After their encounter, McGregor defeated Mendes to win the interim featherweight UFC title. He has since unified the featherweight division and become the first two-division champ, after defeating Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
There are many obstacles in life that require us to channel a fighting spirit. Hopefully, McGregor and sporting legends will continue to inspire those who need it most.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.