Does Conor McGregor Smoke Cigars?
Cigars and cigar smoking have long been associated with the fight game. Not so much inside the ring as outside it. Nevertheless, there have certainly been many great fighters who also enjoyed the occasional cigar. Today, though, seeing a boxer or UFC fighter smoking a cigar anywhere outside of a post-fight victory celebration seems like an oddity. There is, however, at least one modern fighter who seems the perfect fit for the cigar-smoking lifestyle: Conor McGregor.
About Conor McGregor
If you don’t know who Conor McGregor is, then you must have been hiding for the past few years. Conor McGregor, who, in the ring, is called the “Notorious” Conor McGregor, is just that: Famous for both breaking the rules and breaking noses.
Starting his career in the UFC, McGregor grew up and trained in Ireland before coming onto the scene. It’s no secret that the Irish love the sport of fighting—whether boxing or otherwise, Irish people in the UK and the United States were thrilled to have a fellow Irishman in the ring getting wins.
McGregor’s most famous fight came when he faced one of the greatest boxers of all time, Floyd Mayweather. There had long been talk about an epic showdown between an MMA fighter and a traditional Western boxer. That dream came to life in 2017 when McGregor and Mayweather faced off. In the end, Mayweather won by decision, but McGregor still had a blowout celebration where is was publicly seen smoking a huge cigar for, perhaps, the first time.
The answer, then, seems to be that, yes, like many athletes, Conor McGregor does indulge in the occasional cigar. But, unlike some of the following fighters, he is far from an aficionado.
John L. Sullivan
Another boxer of Irish decent, John L. Sullivan, is, for many fighting experts, where history begins. Born in Massachusetts in 1858, Sullivan was known as “The Boston Strong Boy.” And standing 5′ 10″ and over 210 pounds, he certainly was.
Sullivan was known for many things, including having only one loss in his 44 fights. Sullivan was an athlete and first left school to pursue baseball. He quickly, however, turned to boxing when he realized he was more suited to what we now call “combat” sports.
Sullivan had a legendary cigar habit with some reporting he would smoke dozens every day. While the exact amount remains unclear, Sullivan advocated a cigar-friendly and is quoted as saying, “My whole life is guided by nature […] I believe there is such a thing as a man overworking himself and becoming stale.” That is why Sullivan advocated everything from drinking to playing late-night cards and pool too, of course, smoking cigars. Sullivan always said that he didn’t need more than 8-10 weeks to train for a prizefight, and then that was it…He’d simply step in the ring and destroy his opponents.
“Gentleman” Jim Corbett
“Gentleman” Jim Corbett was a great American boxer from the late 19th Century. Jim was famously the first boxer to defeat John L. Sullivan in 1892. While some say, Corbett had an advantage in the match because of the newly adopted “Queensberry” rules, no one who saw the first left disappointed. The Queensberry rules have to do with the size of the ring as well as how fights should conduct themselves. For example, under the Queensberry rules, fights are not able to continuously “wrap up” in the way they often used to.
The match between Corbett and Sulivan went an astonishing 21 rounds during a time when fights would simply keep going until someone got knocked out or someone gave up. The fight between Corbett and Sullivan was an extravaganza attended by some 3,500 people and reported on by virtually every paper in the country.
When out of the ring, Gentleman Jim Corbett smoked so many cigars that he had some named after him, although today the cigars have gone away for a time, they were quite popular.
Joe Frazier is an interesting fighter. Although he defeated Ali, Frazier is often ignored in the Patheon of great fighters. Perhaps this isn’t true of those who follow the sport of fighter, but among the public, his name registers far lower than, say, Ali.
Frazier was technically an undersized heavyweight champion. Standing at just under 6-feet, for the modern era, Joe was both short and light. But he made up for his stature with incredible skill and tenacity in the ring. That, plus, he was one of the best-conditioned fighters to ever step into the ring. Often Frazier would wear his opponents down round after round, waiting for his time to strike. Back then, funnily enough, his nickname was “Smokin’ Joe.”
Today Joe Frazier has become quite the cigar aficionado and is rarely seen not holding a Ghurka cigar.
Jake LaMotta was made famous in the movie “Raging Bull,” in which Robert Di Nero plays LaMotta. As the title of the film suggests, LaMotta’s nickname was the “Raging Bull” (although some people called him the “Bronx Bull”) because he fought, well, like a bull. LaMotta would chase his opponents around the ring and eat punch after punch to get on the inside and inflict bodily damage. LaMotta won many of his fights with vicious body shots.
Outside of the ring, LaMotta was to New York Italians what Sullivan was to Irish Bostonians. Similarly, both men liked smoking cigars and were rarely seen at public events without one in hand.
The first truly great black boxer in American history, Jack Johnson, fought an incredible 91 times during his career having only 11 losses in that time along with 35 wins by knockout. Johnson had a huge 74 in reach that he would use to keep opponents outside until he was ready to strike.
Johnson, himself called the Galveston Giant, was very fond of giant cigars. Although his exact favorite brand seems to have varied, one thing is for sure: the “Giant” loved his cigars.
The famed Italian-American boxer is known by many today as the real “Italian Stallion.” As in the person on whom the “Rocky” movies were based. However, that’s not true. While Sylvester Stallone was certainly inspired on some level by Marciano, the fact of the matter is that during his time in the ring, Marciano was actually known as “The Brockton Blockbuster” because he fought out of Brockton in Massachusetts. Anyway, Rocky Marciano, like the other fighters on this list, loved the occasional cigar.
photo credit: @thenotoriousmma