When Conor McGregor steps into the ring this weekend in Las Vegas to face Floyd Mayweather Jr., thousands of his fellow Irishmen will be in town to cheer him on.
With his punishing left hand, dapper attire, and gift for gab, McGregor’s march through UFC opponents made him a sensation on the Emerald Isle. Large contingents of Irish fans made the 5,000 mile trip to Las Vegas for his five previous fights on the Strip, a tradition expected to continue this weekend.
But that influx of people brings a problem: passports. Or more accurately, lost passports.
“When you have that many people from one place, they’re carrying their passports around and in the normal course of events someone might lose a passport or get hurt,” Honorary Irish Consul to Nevada Terry Murphy told KNPR's State of Nevada.
Murphy said staff from the Irish Embassy will be sent to Las Vegas to help people who might lose their passports or get hurt. She said about 10 people out of the 10,000 expected might lose their travel documents, which is a small percentage, but “those 10 people really need you.”
She said not every country offers that kind of service, but Ireland is proud to be able to.
That enthusiasm provides an opportunity for Las Vegas to make some green from Saturday night’s bout at the T-Mobile Arena, where tickets are available at an average price of $3,500 on StubHub.com.
Even those who can’t afford the pricey ticket still have the option of watching the fight on closed-circuit at Irish bars, making proposition bets at sports books, and enjoying myriad drink specials, including the $12 Fighting Irish Handcuffs — a 16-ounce glass of Guinness chased by a shot of Jameson available at the Linq hotel on the Strip.
Paula McKenna with Ri Ra Irish Pub said they're getting ready with live music and extra beer.
“We are definitely expecting some good times at the pub,” she said.
Both Murphy and McKenna believe McGregor, who has never boxed professionally, has a fighting chance against the undefeated Mayweather.
“I have a feeling that he’s going to knock him out,” Murphy said.
Regardless of what the experts say, they're behind McGregor and regardless of the outcome, it is going to be a fun weekend.
“It is going to be one big party regardless,” McKenna said.
The fight is available on pay-per view TV. The main event starts at 6 p.m. local time.
Terry Murphy, Honorary Irish Consul to Nevada; Paula McKenna, Rí Rá Irish Pub executive
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