Conan O’Brien is one of the most loved talk show hosts in the modern era. His carefree attitude mixed with his ironic sense of narcissism makes him one of the most relatable people on TV. It’d be a surprise to you then that this unassuming man was once the bane of the entire UFC roster.
People who took a beating for a living were scared of this talk show host. However, it was not because of any physical threat he posed but the threat he posed to their professional record. Now this may make it seem that O’Brien personally entered the octagon and beat these fighters, however, we assure you it’s nothing like that.
While the Drake curse, where every athlete, including MMA fighters he supports, ends up losing is well known, its lesser-known counter part is the Conan curse. For almost 4 years from 2014 to 2017, every fighter who made an appearance on his show would go in to lose their upcoming bout.
From Conor McGregor to Ronda Rousey: Notable victims of Conan O’Brien’s, Conan curse
The curse started with Ronda Rousey, who made her appearance on the show at the height of her fame. She was scheduled to headline the most attended UFC event of all time in Australia against former boxing champion Holly Holm. While Holm was a credible threat, Rousey seemed near-invincible in that period. Hence it was surprising when a single head kick ended it all.
The next famous victim was Conor McGregor. He came to the show shortly before his late replacement fight against perrenial lightweight contender, Nate Diaz. Originally supposed to face then Lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, Diaz was seen as a rather easy task for McGregor.
Though he took a beating for a round and a half, Diaz turned it all around in the closing minutes of the second and walked out with a submission victory, handing McGregor his first UFC loss.
The only man to have ever broken this curse is Daniel Cormier. In fact, he was very aware of its existence and even planned to cancel his appearance on the show before his first fight against Stipe Miocic. He even joked about it and detailed the curse to Conan himself who found it equally amusing that Cormier had the guts to show up regardless.
DC would end up winning the heavyweight title and return to the show having broken the curse. However that still was not the last we heard of it as McGregor would suffer the same fate once again. Maybe as a precaution, McGregor chose not to attend in-studio for his appearance on Conan, instead coming in live via satellite. However, it didn’t help him much as he would go on to get trashed by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.