Conor McGregor is one of the most famous and successful mixed martial artists of all time. He is a former two-division champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest and most prestigious MMA promotion in the world. He is also a professional boxer who fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, in one of the most lucrative combat sports events ever. He is known for his charismatic and controversial personality, as well as his striking and trash-talking skills. He is nicknamed “The Notorious”.
On July 10, 2021, McGregor faced Dustin Poirier in a highly anticipated trilogy fight at UFC 264, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight was expected to settle the score between the two rivals, who had previously fought twice, with each fighter winning once by knockout. However, the fight ended in a shocking and gruesome manner, as McGregor suffered a horrific leg injury in the first round, resulting in a technical knockout loss.
Here we will understand complete details on how McGregor broke his leg, what caused the injury, how it was treated, and what it means for his future in MMA. It will also include eyewitness accounts, medical analysis, and statements from both fighters and their coaches.
The incident occurred in the closing seconds of the first round of the UFC 264 main event.
McGregor started the fight aggressively, throwing a barrage of kicks and punches at Poirier. Poirier was able to counter and land some significant strikes of his own, as well as take McGregor down and control him on the ground for most of the round.
McGregor attempted to use his elbows and a guillotine choke to escape, but Poirier defended well and landed some heavy ground and pound.
As the round was about to end, McGregor managed to get back to his feet and exchanged some more punches with Poirier.
However, the injury to McGregor’s leg did not occur from a missed left hand and a step back on his left leg. Instead, it happened when McGregor attempted a teep kick to Poirier’s stomach.
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, revealed that the Irishman’s leg broke when he kicked Poirier’s elbow. As a result, his leg buckled and snapped, causing him to fall to the floor in agony.
The referee, Herb Dean, immediately waved off the fight, as McGregor’s leg was clearly broken and he could not continue. Poirier was declared the winner by technical knockout due to a doctor’s stoppage.
The reaction of both fighters and the audience was indeed one of shock and disbelief. Poirier pointed at McGregor’s leg and celebrated his victory, while McGregor screamed in pain and frustration. The crowd, which was largely pro-McGregor, booed and jeered at Poirier. The medical staff rushed to attend to McGregor, who was stretchered out of the arena and taken to a hospital.
The incident was witnessed by millions of viewers around the world, as well as by the UFC commentators, who were stunned by what they saw. Joe Rogan, the lead commentator, said: “Oh my God, his ankle! His ankle! His ankle!”.
Medical analysis of the injury
According to the UFC president, Dana White, McGregor did suffer a broken lower tibia in his left shin. This means that the larger of the two bones in the lower leg, which connects the knee and the ankle, was fractured. The smaller bone, the fibula, was also likely damaged, as it runs parallel to the tibia and supports the ankle joint.
The following image shows the anatomy of the lower leg bones:
The injury was not classified as a compound fracture, which means that the broken bone pierced through the skin, causing bleeding and increasing the risk of infection. Compound fractures are indeed considered more serious than simple fractures, which do not break the skin.
The exact cause of the fracture is still unclear, but there are some possible explanations. One is that McGregor had already injured his leg before the fight, as he claimed, and that the repeated kicks and punches to his leg during the fight worsened the condition and caused the final break. Another is that Poirier checked one of McGregor’s kicks with his elbow, creating a microfracture in McGregor’s leg that later snapped when he stepped back. A third is that McGregor’s leg was weakened by a combination of factors, such as previous injuries, weight cutting, and aging.
To treat the injury, McGregor underwent surgery the next day, on July 11, 2021.
He had a titanium rod inserted in his leg, from his knee to his ankle, to stabilize the bone and allow it to heal. He also had screws and plates attached to his fibula. The surgery was successful and McGregor was expected to make a full recovery.
The following image shows an example of a titanium rod inserted in a tibia fracture:
The recovery time for a tibia fracture varies depending on the severity of the injury, the type of surgery, and the patient’s age and health. However, a general estimate is that it takes about six months for the bone to heal, and another six months for the patient to regain full function and mobility. This means that McGregor will likely be out of action for at least a year, and possibly longer. He will also need to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore his strength and flexibility.
After the injury, McGregor was indeed defiant and angry, as he continued to hurl insults and threats at Poirier and his wife, Jolie. He accused Poirier of cheating and claimed that the fight was not over. He also vowed to come back and finish the fight. He said: “This is not over. If I have to take this outside with him, it’s on outside. I don’t give a bollocks. There was no check. There was not one of them was a check. Your wife is in my DMs. Hey baby, hit me back up and I’ll chat to you later on. We’ll be having an afterparty at the Wynn nightclub, baby. You look in bits, you little ho.”
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, was more composed and respectful, as he praised Poirier for his performance and expressed his disappointment for the outcome.
He said: “It was a hell of a first round. It would have been nice to see how the second round played out. But we have to be honest, Dustin was able to land some good shots. We were landing some good shots. It was a cracker of a round. It’s very disappointing. It’s hard to take. The leg injury is a bit of a freak thing. We were very happy with the preparation. He looked very, very good. It’s just one of those things. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
Poirier, on the other hand, was calm and confident, as he celebrated his win and dismissed McGregor’s antics. He said: “This guy is a dirtbag, man. Karma is not a b—-, it’s a mirror. This guy’s pressed the wrong buttons for a long time, and I’ve been the nice guy for a long time. He got what he had coming to him. He’s sitting there on the ground after getting knocked out, and he’s telling me he’s going to kill me. What kind of person does that? He’s a sore loser, and he’s a sore winner. He’s a piece of s—, and I don’t want to be around him.”
Poirier also explained how he checked McGregor’s kicks and how he felt the injury happen. He said: “He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning of the fight, and then he broke it on a punch, for sure. I felt something, but I mean, he was kicking me hard. It was probably cracked and then on the twist of the punch, finished. I heard his ankle snap when I pointed at him. I let him get up, because I was going to take his head off.”
The Impact on McGregor’s Career
The injury has indeed raised many questions and doubts about McGregor’s future in MMA, as well as his legacy and status in the sport. McGregor, who is 35 years old, has won fights after 2016. He won against Eddie Alvarez in 2016, against Nate Diaz in 2016, and had a 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone in 2020. He has lost three of his last four fights.
McGregor has been involved in several legal and personal issues outside the octagon, such as assault charges, sexual assault allegations, and a paternity dispute. There were also driving violations.
Some critics and fans have argued that McGregor has lost his motivation and hunger for fighting, as he has become too rich and distracted by other ventures, such as his whiskey brand, Proper Twelve. They have also suggested that McGregor has not evolved or improved his skills, as he has relied too much on his left hand and neglected other aspects of MMA, such as wrestling, grappling, and leg kicks. They have also questioned his durability and chin.
However, McGregor has remained adamant and determined that he will return to the octagon and reclaim his glory. He has said that he is still passionate and obsessed with fighting, and that he will not let the injury stop him. He has also said that he will make the necessary adjustments and corrections to his game, and that he will prove his doubters wrong. He has also expressed his desire to fight Poirier for a fourth time, to settle the score once and for all.
McGregor is currently recovering from his injury and has said that he is ahead of schedule. He is no longer in a boot or cast and has started some light training. He is expected to be out of action for at least six months, and possibly longer. He will also need to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore his strength and flexibility.
The leg injury that McGregor suffered at UFC 264 was one of the most shocking and unfortunate events in MMA history. It not only ended the fight prematurely, but also cast a shadow over McGregor’s career and future. It also left the rivalry between McGregor and Poirier unresolved, as both fighters and fans were left unsatisfied with the outcome.
However, the injury also showed the resilience and character of both fighters, as they reacted differently to the situation. McGregor was still fiery and defiant, as he refused to accept defeat and vowed to come back stronger. Poirier was still calm and confident, as he claimed victory and dismissed McGregor’s antics. Both fighters showed their passion and determination for the sport, as well as their respect and disdain for each other.
The injury also sparked a lot of interest and debate among the MMA community, as it raised many questions and speculations about McGregor’s future in the sport. Will he be able to recover fully and return to his former glory? Will he be able to adapt and improve his skills and tactics? Will he be able to fight Poirier again and settle the score? Will he be able to regain his status and legacy as one of the greatest fighters of all time?
Only time will tell. But one thing is certain: Conor McGregor is not done yet. He is still the biggest star and draw in MMA, and he still has a lot to offer and prove. He is still the Notorious.