Yesterday afternoon, the sporting world was torn asunder by the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Within hours, countless sports stars — including many of the UFC’s best — had reacted to this tragedy. Former two-division UFC champ Conor McGregor is one of the latest to do so.
McGregor is still on US soil after his dominant, 40-second knockout of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. On Sunday night, he attended the Grammys, which went down in the Staples Centre, the setting of Bryant’s greatness on the court.
Speaking to CBS, McGregor shared his thoughts on Bryant’s passing. While he admitted that basketball is not his preferred sport, he added that Bryant transcended sports completely.
Conor McGregor on the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant: “It’s iconic that I’m here and that he used to play in this arena… I’m very happy to be here but sad at the same time. It’s just a very sad time.” — @TheNotoriousMMA #GRAMMYs pic.twitter.com/SOFjWGfoPp
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 27, 2020
“It’s very, very sad news,” McGregor said (via MMA Junkie). “It’s iconic that I’m here and he used to play in this arena, as well, right? So just very sad news. (He) lost his daughter, as well. It’s kind of hard to get up for it, for this event. I’m very happy to be here, but I’m sad at the same time. … just a very sad time.”
“For me, the first time I ever came to America, Kobe was one of the big stars and one of the men that jumped out,” McGregor added. “We don’t really understand basketball (in Ireland) too much, but Kobe – his star transcends sport, and a great man. I would have loved to meet him. It’s a very sad day.”
Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning. The five-time champion and 18-time All-Star was 41. His daughter, a young basketball player, was only 13.
Conor McGregor, a father of two, returned to the win column by defeating Cerrone, and aims to return to the Octagon imminently.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/27/2020.