Following his defeat in a $300 million fight by Floyd Mayweather Junior, mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor has roared out a defiant challenge to Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. He called for the 67-year-old Buddhist monk to meet him in a monastery of his choice for a bumper pay day, no-prayer wheels-barred, ‘pray-off’ for the right to be called the devoutest unarmed man on the planet.
Speaking to the press days after he was bludgeoned to defeat in Las Vegas, McGregor was in no mood to take prisoners. ‘If The Dalai Lama thinks he’s such a spiritual hotshot then I’m prepared to give him an education in theological devotion. I’ll out-pray this Tibetan bitch in his own backyard if that’s what it takes. I’m going to show the world, that even though Mayweather handed me a can of whup-ass in the ring, when it comes to offering up devotions to a higher power, I’m the daddy.’
Lama, undefeated after 60 years in the temple, immediately responded to McGregor’s challenge in typically outspoken style. Speaking from his training camp in the Himalayas, where he’s preparing for a multi-million dollar, one-on-one theological debate with he Chief Rabbi, he told reporters: ‘If the money’s right I’ll be ready for this chump, no question. It’ll be a pleasure to kick his ass in front of his own omnipotent deity. Come and have a go if you think you’re enlightened enough, mofo.’
Analysts have accused both men of cynically debasing both noble arts of kicking the living crap out of another bloke and speaking to an imaginary friend. ‘It’s a mismatch,’ said Austen Ivereigh, former deputy editor of The Tablet turned trash-talking rapper. ‘There’s no chance some beefed-up cage fighter who’s never meditated in his life can go head to head on the Eightfold Path with His Holiness. To be the king of prayer, you gotta be there. He’s way too late, he’s goin’ down in eight – and that’s one of the Four Noble Truths.’
Excitement among fans is high, however, and Sky TV are already planning a live streaming of the fight in Westminster Abbey, the Potala Palace in Lhasa and selected Irish pubs across the world. If the two camps can reach an agreement, this will be the biggest, most eagerly-awaited religious tear-up since Archbishop Robert Runcie stopped Ayatollah Khomeini after 14 gruelling rounds of spiritual contemplation and chanting in Caesar’s Palace in Tehran in 1982.