Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish invasion begins in Vegas: 30 Mullingar lads have McGregor reunion in Sin City

JOE CALLAGHAN reports from Las Vegas

HE invasion has begun. They've again taken their merry time to get here but Conor McGregor's green army of fans arrived en masse in Las Vegas on Friday morning as MMA hordes descended on the MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC 196 weigh-in day.

There had been fears that the numbers of Irish supporters would be drastically down on the levels seen in Sin City for the Dubliner's two most recent visits here - July and December fight weeks when the Strip turned green.

And while the non-title UFC 196 showdown with Nate Diaz tomorrow night may not match those highs, there was still a swell of supporters making their presence felt as queues winded all the way from the Garden Arena back to the Strip itself.

They were here to see their idol step on the scales for his first ever fight at welterweight. They're expecting him to be just as devastating at the 170lb division. It's a third Las Vegas outing in the space of just eight months, stretching tight budgets to breaking point. But still they came.

A group of upwards of 30 Mullingar friends jetted in from all across the globe - Perth, Sydney, New York and much closer to home. They'd commissioned a Sydney company to make McGregor t-shirts with his 'break out the red panties' slogan and a selection of flags featuring the featherweight champion's devastating KO of Jose Aldo last time out.

"We just couldn't miss him," they told "We'd love to see him fight some where different for a change - the east coast, New York or Boston. But look, we're Vegas veterans at this stage. We know he'll put on a show.

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