'Now there's cartels' - McGregor reveals youth spent avoiding gang lifestyle
Irish UFC champion Conor McGregor has lifted the lid on his youth spent avoiding his native Crumlin's vicious feud that claimed the lives of 16 people.
In a revealing interview with ESPN, the fighter, who is set to fight boxing great Floyd Mayweather later this month in America, spoke about witnessing the gang war first-hand.
He told his interviewer that the gangsters' lives have been ruined by their involvement in crime.
McGregor said: "They were 'the man' last week," before adding that now they can't even leave their home.
"As a group of friends, we all saw this."
The 29-year-old, who once trained as a plumber, also said that he was still very much involved in his local area, but that it was still a troubled place which had been marred by gangland crime, including the feud between the Hutch Kinahan gangs.
He said: "I still am in Crumlin every day ... There's still s***. Now there's cartels."
The Kinahan cartel is currently engaged in a bitter war with its deadly rivals the Hutches.
A senior Garda source confirmed that McGregor was never dragged into a criminal lifestyle of violence and drug dealing, despite being surrounded by it. But the article does reveal that he got into a brawl with the brother of a high-profile gangland target.
Johno Frazer, whose brother has been the subject of seven murder attempts, says that he beat up the MMA fighter, in a row over a girl.
Frazer told 'ESPN' magazine: "I gave Conor a few slaps.
"I was in a gang. Conor wasn't in a gang. He went walking up the Crumlin Road with a girl I was with, and I hit him."
Frazer, a brother of a Kinahan cartel target Michael Frazer, also confirmed that the fighter "never dealt drugs".
Frazer admitted that the pair ended up as friends but that McGregor chose instead the safe, low-paying job of a plumber.
Later, he says, they even went on holiday to Greece with a group of friends.
"We were all drug dealers, and we all had loads of money," Frazer says, laughing.
"Conor had none. Conor stayed in our room on a blow-up bed.
"His dad was ringing him, 'He has to come home, go back to plumbing'."
He then added that although he got the upper hand on McGregor, he wouldn't try it again, saying: "I wouldn't try fighting him now. That's a fact.
"Conor wasn't afraid of me. He was afraid of what I'd be able to do. He was afraid I'd stab him. That's a long time ago."
McGregor fights Mayweather in Las Vegas on August 26. It is available to purchase from Sky Sports.