SBG Portarlington in County Laois, Ireland, was saved from a COVID-related permanent closure this week after UFC superstar Conor McGregor swooped in.
“We’ve had three lockdowns now, and I think after each lockdown it’s hard to get the same numbers back in,” owner Philip Mulpeter told ESPN.
“People lose the routine and just our numbers were dropping. Every time there was a new lockdown, we got deeper and deeper into debt. … Our landlord wasn’t giving us any break on the rent or anything like that. We had to decide to shut the doors for good.”
That is when McGregor stepped up.
“I was like nearly crying there,” Mulpeter said of the call with McGregor.
“I didn’t know what to say to him, to be honest. I’m forever grateful to him. He basically saved our little community. Words can’t express what he’s done for us.
“I know that he gets bad press. People don’t report on it, but he does this stuff all the time. Conor is not looking for gratitude, he’s not looking for the media to spread this around.”
The gesture really resonated with Mulpeter.
“He was just like, ‘You’re doing a f—ing amazing job, you’ve created an amazing community at the gym,'” Mulpeter said. “And he’d seen all the support online from all the parents and kids [who go to the gym]. It’s like Santa coming early for us.”
In tough times like this, it’s nice to know that some athletes can rise above and think of people other than themselves.