I am genuinely shocked and nearly horrified by the fact that a new TV series on our national RTE channel is due for transmission in just a few hours time and is devoted entirely to the life and times of Conor McGregor.
He is the Dubliner, an alleged pugilist, whom I last saw briefly on TV about a month ago roaring that he was going to tear the head off a Brazilian opponent in a UFC bout in Boston.
I love almost all sports, or at least some elements of them. I stayed up all night in Clare, for example, to watch the Super Bowl because I marvel at the quarterback skills in that code.
I do not know all that much about cricket either, but the power and precision of the top bowlers can be awesome. I saw a willow bat being broken to pieces by a delivery in a recent Test in Australia.
I am passionate about Gaelic games and track and field and boxing especially maybe. I am NOT a spoil sport, accordingly, and I hope that McGregor makes a fortune on the UFC circuit over there.
But, dammit, I feel strongly that what he is involved in is not the kind of sport that many of us call sport.
I saw a few clips several years ago, switched them off, and I will not be tuning in this evening to the RTE series -- incredibly, a series! – entitled Notorious. I gather that is his nickname.
Many of us have seen brawls outside pubs over the years. They always follow a pugilistic pattern.
Typically the antagonists begin by throwing roundhouse swings at each other without connecting. Then they get into grips and, cursing the while, quickly fall to earth locked together.
Down there, usually on the rough surface of the backyard, about anything can happen unless third parties intervene quickly. There will be kicking and kneeing and, in recent years sadly, even biting of any exposed flesh such as earlobes.
It is obscene stuff, primitive ugly madness, and the appalling UFC clips that formed my opinion on the world of Conor McGregor looked exactly like that, except that the fighters were barefoot. Dreadful images altogether.
There is a compulsive balletic facet to proper boxing in the ring. Ali was truly beautiful to watch in the years when he had the feet of clay.
There was a forgotten light-heavy called Willie Pastrano who was even more elementally balletic in action even on a snowballed black and white TV screen at three o'clock in the morning in my childhood kitchen.
There were the boxers like Henry Cooper of England who had the kind of punching power which could turn a fight their way in a fraction of a second.
Barry McGuigan of Clones and Ireland, in more recent years, had a gritty resolve and discipline to him that was highly impressive. He never roared and screamed that he was going to tear the head off any opponent.
Then there is the greatest fighter that Ireland has ever produced. I am talking about Katie Taylor, also from Dublin, like McGregor, whose gold medal exploits all over the world for a decade now, including an Olympic gold, are truly mind-boggling.
Katie routinely goes away to far distant tournaments and brings back not just the gold medal for being champion of her division, but also the gold medal for being the outstanding boxer of the entire tournament!
She does it time and again, does this quietly powerful and ladylike athlete, and I wrote here years ago that the same national TV channel which is about to promote Notorious has never, to this day, given anywhere near sufficient recognition or coverage to Taylor. That is a scandalous situation in truth.
I wish McGregor a pot of gold at the end of his particular sporting journey. I hope no Brazilian ever tears off his head during one of those obscene grapples which seem to define the UFC discipline.
I do regret, however, that the national flag of which we should all be so proud is draped around the gutter spectacles involved. That flag has fluttered magnificently on other mighty sporting occasions.
I recall the beautifully balanced and graceful runner Sonia O'Sullivan, in her prime, flowing over the tracks of her laps of honor with the green white and gold rippling behind her in a way to make the heart beat faster with pure pride.
That, for me at any rate, will never happen anywhere near the bare feet of the one called The Notorious.
He has to play the game of his code, to be sure, and to utter bloodcurdling threats to boost the turnstiles, but it is all rather shoddy and sad when the alleged sporting discipline involved is so primitive and ugly.
Somebody told me last week that McGregor was a plumber before he became whatever kind of alleged warrior he would claim to be today. To my mind, God bless and protect him, he is still a plumber.
Plumbing the darker depths of sport...