MMA

Conor McGregor ‘devastated’ as he cried following first MMA defeat aged 19

Conor McGregor cried in the ring after his first defeat in MMA, according to a new book about the UFC icon.

McGregor was so inconsolable after the loss that he was still crying in the dressing room afterwards, according to Artemij Sitenkov – the man who beat him.

Obsessions, which has just been published in France, reveals some little-known stories about the Irishman who went to become a two-weight UFC champion before retiring last month.

In the book, Sitenkov recalls how a 19-year-old McGregor was "devastated" after losing to him in 2008.

“Conor tried to get into my head during the weigh-in," said the Lithuanian.

"But I was not impressed at all because this is something we do in my country."

Recalling McGregor's reaction to being beaten, Sitenkov said: “Conor stayed on the ground for a few minutes. He was crying and he was completely devastated.

“I had to go to his dressing room to try to cheer him up and he was still crying when I got in.”

Kieran Campbell, the first fighter to face McGregor in 2007, describes in Obsessions how he threw up after squaring up to the future superstar outside the dressing rooms.

But while 'The Notorious' could be intimidating, the book also details how the future featherweight and lightweight champion showed his softer side when he stayed with Jon Vidar Arnthorsson during a training trip in Iceland.

Arnthorsson said: “Conor had really enjoyed his week. I knew at the time he did not have any money because he did not have work.

“But before he went to take his flight to get back to Dublin he went to withdraw all his money in order to buy a gift for my first child. It is something I will never forget.”

Obsessions is written by French sports writer Charles Thiallier, who spent months researching McGregor in Crumlin, South Dublin, where the superstar grew up.

In the book, Thiallier explores McGregor’s complicated relationship with the Irish public.

“He is popular with the young generation in France, who go to the gym and spend half of their day on Instagram," writes Thiallier.

“Even though I know he is not that popular right now in Ireland, I think that whether we like him or not, in 10 or 20 years’ time he will have his name among the most influential sports people of his generation.

"He is the guy who made MMA popular around the world, he is the face of the UFC and he probably changed the sports for ever.”

Thiallier added: “His love for Crumlin seems real. A lot of people have seen him taking time with kids and he seems to come back a lot.

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“Some of his neighbours that I met knew him since he was six years old. Most of them described him as a cheeky kid.”

Also in the book, Phil Sutcliffe recounts the life-changing day McGregor first entered Crumlin Boxing Club with his mother Margaret.

“He came in with football shoes on," he said. "He didn’t have any gloves – we gave him everything.

“He did one training as a try and he was hooked.”

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