Wealth transforms class interests - the example of Conor McGregor


It’s not everyday you get to watch two multimillionaires knocking the shite out of each other but tonight it’s going down. One of them is Irish to boot, Conor McGregor is probably already worth over 50 million, if the fight goes ahead he is thought to be gaining at least another 75 million.

This puts McGregor firmly in the capitalist class, 50 million invested anyway smartly should be bringing in at least 3 million a year off other people’s labour - very much more than enough to comfortably live off. We know he is doing this as he set up his own investment company in 2016, Congregor Investments Ltd.

Of course money doesn’t mean McGregor can completely escape the snobbery that would look down at him because he comes from Crumlin, a working class area of Dublin. There are probably a fair few ‘old money’ folk out in the posh suburb of Foxrock who will cheer him on fighting but wouldn’t want him as a son in law. And others who will couple a dislike of violence to his class background. But this doesn’t change the fact that in ‘class interest’ terms McGregor is no longer working class. Through his investment funds he is now an exploiter rather than amongst the ranks of the exploited. Indeed even in terms of his payment from tonights fight he is earning an astronomical amount more per hour that the cleaners, ticket clerks and ushers making 15 dollars an hour or less.

McGregor himself seems clear enough that his new found interests as a very rich man outweigh the concerns he might have for the working class population of the city he came from. He had one set of class interests on the dole, he has a very different set now. Last weekend the Sunday Business post reported his manager saying there was no way McGregor would fight in Ireland as if he did he’d have to pay more tax, at a 50% rate rather than the 10% he will pay in Vegas.

This may be perfectly legal but it’s tax avoidance. All Irish multimillionaires do it regardless of the source of their wealth, paying tax is for us little people. In case you are tempted to cry for McGregors potential extra 40% tax liability lets remembers that even if he had to pay 50% tax he’d still walk away with over 35 million from this one fight. It would take over 800 years for those of us on an average industrial wage to make the same, we’d have had to begin sometime around Strongbow landing in Ireland.

Keep that tax avoidance in mind when someone quotes that old McGregor interview when he says “I never forget the struggles. I never forget where I came from. I never ever forget the hard times ..When things were really bad I didn’t have a pot to piss in. Really, nothing. I’m not a stupid guy and it was hard standing in the a dole queue.” That’s how he used to think.

The dole like healthcare and education comes from taxes, when our millionaire capitalist class (legally) avoid taxes it means the rest of us have to make up that difference or those of us who are unemployed are stuck. Indeed any workers earning much above the minimum wage will pay more tax than the 10% McGregor will pay on his 75 million from tonight.

People who point out that McGregor is the target of snobbery because of his class background are correct but they are wrong when they portray him as currently working class in any sense other than as an identity. It’s worse still when they use this identity to try and excuse his race baiting of his opponents. In materialist terms he is now just another capitalist, part of a global system of exploitation that the rest of us have to carry so he can get richer.

Not all capitalists wear a top hat and monocle, although now that we think of it that may be exactly what he wears to tonights fight.

Words Andrew Flood (follow Andrew on Twitter)


Image cropped from original By Andrius Petrucenia on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) - Originally posted to Flickr as "UFC 189 World Tour Aldo vs. McGregor London 2015" Cropped by UCinternational, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45736487

This article when first posted to our Facebook page on the eve of the Mayweather fight attracted a lot of debate