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'Go ask my bollox': UFC star Conor McGregor involved in bizarre Twitter spat with ferry operator employee over Covid-19 measures

'Go ask my bollox': UFC star Conor McGregor involved in bizarre Twitter spat with ferry operator employee over Covid-19 measures
UFC superstar Conor McGregor's increasingly vocal activism during the Covid-19 pandemic took a bizarre turn this weekend when he became embroiled in a Twitter back-and-forth with a ferry operator employee named Simon.

McGregor, 31, has been increasingly outspoken on how he feels the authorities in his Irish homeland should be handling the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

The former two-weight UFC champ's advice has so far ranged from calling for a total military-enforced lockdown to demanding that the Irish government send aid back to the "barbaric" Chinese government.

Using the millions-strong reach of his social media accounts, McGregor has in recent days extended his online edicts to call for more stringent shutdowns at Ireland's borders as cases in the country approach the 9,000 mark, while deaths stood at 320 as of Sunday morning.   

Also on rt.com Conor McGregor attacks 'barbaric' Chinese government over coronavirus aid to Ireland

But as the UFC star became increasingly assertive in his demands he found himself engaged in one particularly unlikely back-and-forth featuring ferry operator Stena Line Group and the employee handling its Twitter account.

The exchange began when McGregor shared an article on "hundreds" of passengers driving into Ireland during the coronavirus lockdown.

"The term 'pissing against the wind' comes to mind here, men and women. Without closure of our ports, air and sea (the birthplace of the spread into Ireland) what are we really doing? Lockdown? No. Afraid not," McGregor fumed.

That drew a reply from the official Stena Line account, which clarified that "people are adhering to [government regulations] on essential travel & this has been confirmed by RTE, The Irish Times, & by the Taoiseach at last night’s press conference. It is vital that we stick to the facts."

The message was signed off by "Simon," thus laying the ground for one of McGregor's strangest lexical sparring sessions to date.

Things remained civil in the initial exchanges as Simon at Stena Line provided McGregor with information on the number of people crossing into Ireland with the company, which 'The Notorious' Dubliner initially seemed satisfied with.

McGregor even remained polite when later questioning why people were still entering the country on Saturday, after being reassured by Stena Line that "our people are key workers going 2 work 7 days a week, doing shifts covering 24 hours a day to ensure vital supply lines stay open." 

"Apologies Simon. I didn’t mean it to feel in this way, like I am not in full respect and admiration for those working through this pandemic," McGregor wrote. 

"I am in complete awe and admiration of them! Thank you for your replies to me. Grateful! God speed and stay safe brother, and all staff."

That prompted a message of mutual respect from the travel operator.

But something clearly flipped with McGregor on Saturday night as he took off the gloves with his new Twitter pen pal.

"Oh my lord! I wish Simon from stena line would just write 'Simon says, go ask my bollox' so i could just bounce out of this. I don’t want to be here guys.

"Truth be told I want to be where Simon is. Dun Laoghaire marina. My yacht’s there. I’m actually neighbours with this big boat," McGregor wrote.

Simon duly responded by tweeting out the requested line - much to McGregor's amusement.  

But the baffling exchange was not done there, as McGregor appeared to track down the aforementioned Simon's personal account through some late-night Twitter trawling.

"Well, well, well men and women. I’ve found Simon of Stena Line. British native. Works for RTE Pulse. The rave station. Simon you little egg with a Ronnie. Campaigning for non essential travelling. Ludicrous! Close the ports @LeoVaradkar! Ridiculous carry on now. No more. Hurry!" McGregor demanded. 

That left Twitter stumped at the lengths McGregor had gone to in order to be fully clued up on his online interlocutor.

Some were left equally confused as to what McGregor had actually meant by referring to Simon as an "egg with a Ronnie," but the internet was on hand to help... 

Simon at Stena Line appeared to take the barb in good humor as he replied for the company on Sunday, assuring McGregor that they were advising people only to travel for "essential" reasons, and signing off as "an egg with a Ronnie."

As ever though, the garrulous McGregor was keen to have the final say, claiming that the measures were not enough in the circumstances. 

"You cannot ask some, yet tell others. 100s came in for the Easter weekend festivities via plane/boat, while others got fined for walking their dog too far from home. You see how that makes no sense? Anyway, off to Blackpool today. It’s essential travel, trust me," he wrote.   

Whether that draws a line under the saga remains to be seen, but given McGregor's propensity for trading online blows this could be a feud which drags on even longer than his infamous grudge with Russian nemesis Khabib Nurmagomedov...   

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