Sean O’Malley doesn’t want to share a card, and its spotlight, with Conor McGregor

The Underground
sean o'malley
Dec 11, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Sean O’Malley reacts following his TKO victory against Raulian Paiva during UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the attention a card featuring Conor McGregor brings, young gun UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley has no interest in sharing a card and its spotlight with the Irishman.

When it comes to expanding one’s brand in combat sports, the running theory is that there is no better platform in the sport for a lot eyeballs watching than being on a card headlined by the most popular fighter in MMA, McGregor (22-6). His events not only hold much of the top 10 spots for pay-per-view buys in MMA history, but his name is also all over the top five for combat sports all-time.

Fighters in the past have relished the opportunity for placement on one of those cards and many still do now. Since brand building can be a key component of working up the rankings and earning more cash in a sport not overflowing with million dollar paydays. However, O’Malley (15-1) does not share that mindset. He has become one of the rare talents in the sport that remains outside his divisions top-10 but is arguably one of the weight classes most popular stars.

Sean O’Malley doesn’t want to share the spotlight on a Conor McGregor card

Since “Sugar” has grown into an attention magnet all by himself, he doesn’t see any benefits in landing on a card with the biggest MMA attention magnet of them all. O’Malley thinks that McGregor’s star shines so bright that it eclipses any fighter under that unique spotlight when it comes time for post-event coverage.

“I’d rather fight with less attention on the card. I’d rather fight on a non-Conor card,” O’Malley told Helen Yee Sports. “Because no matter what, even if I go out there and perform beautifully, and Conor breaks his foot or whatever, it’s all that ESPN, Sportscenter — everything is just gonna pick up Conor. So for me, I’d prefer to be on a smaller card. I feel like everyone else [besides McGregor] I’m bigger than.”

O’Malley is currently on a three-fight win steak and has been victorious in seven of his eight appearances inside the Octagon. Earning five knockout victories en route to his spot at 12 in the bantamweight rankings.

Do you agree with O’Malley, and for a unique talent like him, being a big fish on a smaller card is a better situation?


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