Idol to rival: O'Malley, McGregor send virtual jabs

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Conor McGregor and Sean O’Malley have shown a mutual respect and even admiration for each other for years — but those days appear to be over.

The UFC stars are caught up in a rift this week, after McGregor included O’Malley in a post on social media in which he called for a “lifetime ban” of professional boxer Ryan Garcia.

Garcia, with whom McGregor also had a solid relationship previously, tested positive for the banned substance ostarine prior to upsetting Devin Haney on April 20 in New York. Garcia is facing potential disciplinary action but has denied any accusations of cheating.

In a since-deleted post on X, McGregor called Garcia’s failed test “sad and a bit sick.” He went on to say Garcia’s situation reminded him of O’Malley, who tested positive for the same substance in 2018.

“I don’t like this,” McGregor wrote. “I’ll bust yous both up, do yous want a spar? I will set flights right now for you both for a full-on spar each … Two little Ostarine heads.”

O’Malley, the UFC’s current bantamweight champion, was suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for six months, but that same agency eventually ruled the levels O’Malley had tested positive for were consistent with a contaminated supplement. O’Malley maintained his innocence, and USADA and the UFC ultimately made changes to the UFC’s drug policy in order to avoid similar situations caused by contaminated supplements.

Speaking on his “TimboSugarShow” podcast this week, O’Malley said McGregor was likely under the influence when he posted his statement, but indicated their relationship has changed because of it.

“F— Conor, man,” O’Malley said. “I’ve seen a lot of people being like, ‘Yeah, I bet Suga is sad. Suga is always talking [but] great about Conor, and he’s his f—ing idol.’ He just went on a little tweet rant. F—ing booger sugar’d up, talking s—. ‘I’ll fly you out to spar.’ Yeah, right. I was more sad than mad.”

O’Malley went on to say he now hopes McGregor loses his comeback fight, scheduled for UFC 303 on June 29 against Michael Chandler.

“Now I cannot wait to see Michael Chandler absolutely sleep him,” O’Malley said. “I’m turning up. I’m changing up real quick. F— Conor. When your idols turn your rivals.”

In the past, O’Malley has been outspoken about his admiration of McGregor. The two met in person at a Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Chargers game in 2021. O’Malley said McGregor complimented his fighting style during that exchange and has said the Irish star is “probably the only person that I have taken a lot of inspiration from.”

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