Conor McGregor has stirred the pot after calling Russia president Vladimir Putin “one of the greatest leaders of our time” at the World Cup final.
McGregor was invited to the Moscow showpiece by Putin as France lifted the trophy for a second time thanks to a 4-2 win over Croatia on Sunday.
And the Irish fighter used Twitter and Instagram to thank Putin following the conclusion of the tournament in Russia.
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“Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin,” McGregor wrote after posting a photo alongside Putin.
“This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honoured to attend such a landmark event alongside him.
“Today was an honour for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup.”
His social media message didn’t go down too well with many followers pointing to the president’s horrible record of human rights abuses.
You may be my favorite fighter of all time but no,man, Putin is not a great leader. Unless you consider leading by fear and murder is considered great. Then yeah I guess he's great at murder.
— Shawn Coss (@ShawnCoss) July 15, 2018
He’s not a great leader, he’s a murderous thug.
Get your head of your hind parts, Conor. Don’t forget the ppl he’s killed.
This is such wrong statement and you should know it. Don’t be played by a murderer.
— Brandon Music (@BrandonMusicKy) July 15, 2018
Geez Conor. You may need to step back and take some history classes.
— Donal Manning (@dmanning77) July 16, 2018
The Irish people fought and died for freedom. Mr. McGregor, this statement is so wrong.
— AJ Berry (@Tuffenuff29) July 16, 2018
Others were more forgiving, congratulating the UFC superstar on the proud moment.
Wow that is some honour, congratulations.
— Torykene (@torykene) July 15, 2018
Earlier, McGregor – who is reportedly nearing a return to the octagon – wrote: “Enjoying the World Cup final in Russia. A truly amazing spectacle.”
Enjoying the World Cup final in Russia.
A truly amazing spectacle! pic.twitter.com/OEeOBmEp9y
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 15, 2018
Trump sends congratulations to Putin and Russia
As France beat Croatia 4-2 in the final to claim its second-ever World Cup, congratulations and accolades poured in from around the world.
Predictably, from the man who is never shy about weighing in with his opinions on global matters, U.S. President Donald Trump also offered his congratulations to France, and … to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018
In fairness to Trump, and Putin, the Russia World Cup was a huge success and was relatively free of the controversies and problems many predicted might mar the tournament before it began.
But critics have also pointed to the tournament as a huge public relations victory for Putin, who has faced criticisms for his seemingly unopposed stranglehold on the seat of power in Russia and for creating a political environment where journalists are imprisoned and the rights of the LGBTQ community are persecuted.
During the tournament’s showpiece final between France and Croatia, the controversial anti-authoritarian punk band Pussy Riot staged a pitch invasion in an apparent protest of Putin’s regime.
Trump’s congratulations of Putin on Twitter is particularly eye-raising following this week’s indictment by the Robert Mueller investigation of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC during the 2016 election.
The U.S. president, who attracted huge protests during his visit to London this week, is scheduled to meet with Putin on Monday in a one-on-one summit that will see the two leaders come together with no one else in the room other than translators.
In the wake of the indictments of the Russian intel officers, Trump is under increasing pressure to cancel the summit with Putin, who as a former intelligence officer himself, is generally assumed to have had knowledge of the campaign hacks.
With Omnisport/Yahoo Sports