UFC superstar Conor McGregor might be headed into the most important fight of his MMA career against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier in the main event of UFC 257 next month, but the 32-year-old Irishman didn’t let his laser-like focus on accomplishing the task at hand keep him from saving one of his local MMA gyms. According to Straight Blast Gym (SBG) Portarlington’s official Instagram page, the MMA gym in Ireland was set to close its doors forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic before McGregor swooped in at the last minute to save it.
The gym posted the story via Instagram with the following text:
“From the lowest low to the highest high. WE ARE NOT CLOSING!! Our team-mate and friend @thenotoriousmma has decided to help us out and keep the gym running. We will be eternally grateful. To everyone that messaged and got in touch with us to show your support, thank you all so much. See you all on the mats…”
McGregor re-shared that same story via his various social media channels.
While SBG Portarlington isn’t the exact same Dublin-based SBG MMA gym McGregor helped to make famous in Ireland, it is one of the many SBG gyms that was originally founded by Matt Thornton and ultimately expanded to multiple locations across Ireland and other places around the world.
McGregor commented on SBG Portarlington’s post about staying open, “Let’s go SBG Portarlington!”
More than that, though, McGregor made the move to help make it possible for the MMA gym to remain open after the global pandemic had threatened to shut it down forever.
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More Information Revealed
More information was later revealed by GAMA (Gaelic Athletic Martial Arts) via Instagram.
According to that post, McGregor’s donation keeps SBG open but also has a wider impact across the area.
You can see that post below.
The post says:
An inspiring story unfolded over the weekend. GAMA founder @honeybadgermma was forced to close his gym after 4 years due to overdue rent and the fact that Covid 19 had devastated his gym.
As everyone who has competed at GAMA knows @sbgport is so much more than a gym. It’s a home, a school, a community, and a family. Philip and his wife Alvina have had a massive impact on everyone who steps foot on their mats each week, and through GAMA, the wider MMA and BJJ community. Without them there would be no GAMA.
“With SBG Port closed, the outlook for GAMA surviving was also looking extremely bleak.
However, in a true act of honour, Conor McGregor stepped in to help his friend and team mate Philip by saving SBG Port.
Conor and Philip started out together in a small sweaty gym in Dublin, before anyone in Ireland even knew what MMA was, before their was an Irish UFC world Champion, an Irish UFC double champion, and before Conor shook the world.
No matter how much fame and stardom Conor gains, he never forgets where he came from and the people who helped along the way.
This is a true testiment to the complex character of Conor. He leads by example, by doing. He continues to be an inspiration to the Irish Martial Arts community by not only the way he performs in the cage, but by how he acts outside it.
This is a true martial arts story of loyalty, honour and respect.”
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2
McGregor’s next fight is a rematch against Poirier. That big 155-pound battle takes place at UFC 257 on January 23.
It’s the first UFC pay-per-view event of 2021, and it features two of the UFC’s most popular and recognizable UFC fighters in the world.
McGregor defeated Poirier six years ago via first-round stoppage, but now the two stalwart lightweights are headed back inside the cage to settle things.
You can start getting hyped for the fight by watching the official UFC trailer for UFC 257 below.
McGregor hasn’t fought since stopping Donald Cerrone in the first round of UFC 246 in January.
Poirier’s last fight was an epic five-round slugfest with Dan Hooker that most consider a Fight of the Year candidate for 2020.
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