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En route to the summit of the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), Conor McGregor has cracked quite a few skulls. What he is finding much harder to crack, however, is the world of commerce. As the litany of trademark battles in which McGregor is embroiled shows, commercial opponents don’t fall to floor as easily as José Aldo.
We revealed this week McGregor’s latest opponent in the commercial ring is the Estée Lauder-owned MAC cosmetics group, which is objecting to the fighter’s attempt to trademark his self-endowed moniker, Mystic Mac, across Europe. This would give him a springboard to secure the name in the more lucrative US market.
Perhaps the New York-based make-up brand envisages a future release of eye shadow for clairvoyants. Or maybe it just doesn’t want to be associated, even mistakenly, with the brawler from Crumlin. But the spectre of a fight between McGregor and a company that manufactures pink lipstick has an amusing, almost voyeuristic appeal.
McGregor is also fighting trademark battles over various words and phrases associated with him with a Dutch company that owns the McGregor clothing brand, the German Mac Jeans company and the UK-based Notorious fightwear brand.
Most notably, he is also involved in various scuffles in Europe and the US over his delayed, and seemingly mangled, attempt to launch a whiskey brand, Notorious. Last August, McGregor said his whiskey launch is “coming soon”. But if his transatlantic trademark battles are anything to go by, he hasn’t even tied down the name for it yet.
How McGregor fares in these commercial battles will go a long way towards deciding how quickly he reaches his oft-stated goal, to become filthy rich. McGregor is an impressive sportsman, but his business instincts, most notably in the world of media, will have a far greater impact on his long-term wealth.
He is already an extremely rich man. He reputedly earned more than $100 million for last year’s crossover boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather – the original “Money” fighter – when the Irishman suffered his most significant loss in a professional fight. But McGregor had already earned, by most estimates, between $30 million and $40 million in the MMA octagon before the Mayweather fight.