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ESPN's Ariel Helwani Pops A Boner Over Having A Role In Conor McGregor's PR Campaign

Screenshot: @ESPNMMA

Conor McGregor is many objectionable things. He’s a massive shithead, an outspoken bigot, a rich showy asshole, a violent rage-monster, a destroyer of other people’s personal property, and a puncher of helpless old men. He was accused of sexual assault in December. He’s also a man whose livelihood depends upon maintaining just the barest patina of respectability, so that ruddy blowhards in Tapout T-shirts can feel good about worshipping the ground he walks on.

As such, it is sometimes necessary for McGregor to put on a mewling face and go before the media to apologize for this or that glaring misdeed. McGregor sucker-punched an old guy at a bar in Dublin back in April; video of the attack made the rounds just last week, and McGregor, on schedule, is doing an apology tour. That tour on Thursday took him to ESPN, and the adoring arms of MMA reporter Ariel Helwani:

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“You appeared to get into an altercation with another man,” is a pretty generous way to describe a video that shows a man sitting calmly at a bar and McGregor unexpectedly socking the man in the face. There’s no credible reason to frame it that way—it fails utterly as a description of what took place—but Helwani’s job here is not to interrogate or otherwise address with any journalistic seriousness McGregor’s penchant for violent, antisocial behavior. His job is to provide a cozy platform for McGregor to engage in some image rehabilitation. And Helwani was happy—honored, even—to have a role in this cynical process:

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I am honored to be the shill who provides the softest possible audience for an elder-punching bigot’s PR campaign. McGregor can talk to anyone, sure, but his reason for choosing Helwani is exactly this. Why would McGregor go anywhere else when there’s an ESPN guy who is this invested in his reputation?

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