Rory McIlroy sad to miss Conor McGregor fight

Rory McIlroy has been to UFC star Conor McGregor’s last three fights but will miss Saturday’s clash due to European Tour commitments.

The Northern Irishman heaped praise on the UFC for being one of the first sports to host live events during the pandemic. The creation of Fight Island in Abu Dhabi allowed for a bio-bubble to be created and for international stars like Irishman McGregor to fight without entering the Covid-19 hit US.

McIlroy tees off at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Thursday, which happens to be is just a 30-minute drive from Fight Island. But unfortunately, Covid-19 protocols prevent him from attending.

“The UFC have done a great job,” said McIlroy ahead of McGregor’s lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier.

“Obviously this weekend, in Abu Dhabi, Conor McGregor is fighting. I’ve been to his last three UFC fights. I was trying to get an angle of hoe to get there, but obviously with the European Tour and the bubble, it was proving quite difficult.

“So I’ll hopefully be watching it on TV while having breakfast and getting ready to go out and try and win this tournament.”

McIlroy also touched on the escape that sport gives fans the world over, which has been especially prized during the pandemic.

“I think one of the great things about sports is that it has been a bit of a release from everything that’s going on in the world and to provide that entertainment,” he added.

“Even for people in our position where we get to come out and do our job, it’s still nice to watch something on TV that you don’t know the result of.”

McIlroy tees off along with fellow former world number one’s Justin Thomas and Lee Westwood at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Thursday.