Gavin Fitzgerald and Graeme McDonnell began filming Conor McGregor in 2012, a year before he would sign for the UFC. First the Irish team released a 30-minute documentary for Irish national broadcaster, RTE, before they put another six-part series together for the network.
Last month, the culmination of their work, Conor McGregor: Notorious, was given a cinematic release by Universal. The Dublin premiere brought down the curtain for the final time on the Savoys iconic screen one, which will now be divided into five separate theaters.
Fitzgerald can still pinpoint when he realized that filming McGregor would become his primary focus. During his weight cut for his sophomore trip to the Octagon, The Notorious prophesied that their working relationship would stretch over a number of projects.
We were over in Boston, we were over there for the Max Holloway fight, Fitzgerald told MMAFighting.com. We did a lot of filming with Conor one day and he was enjoying the distraction because he was cutting weight.
We were down at the water front and he said, Lads, I know youre filming this documentary, but after you do the first series and the next series, we need to start talking real business.
The feature film brings us right back to McGregors humble beginning as a wide-eyed 24-year-old with a dream to become the worlds best fighter. The Irishman would soon become the biggest name in MMA after signing for the UFC and making a beeline for the featherweight title.
As one of the biggest celebrities the sport has boasted, Fitzgerald and his film crew never knew what type of access they would be given behind the scenes when they went to film the Dubliner ahead of his fights.
We had to creep our way in on every trip to Vegas, he remembered.
Each trip to Vegas of which Ive had eleven over the course of filming this movie we ended up getting a little more access, but at the beginning we had no idea if we were going to be allowed backstage and things like that.
On out first trip to Vegas, we were given seats in the stands and we were allowed to go backstage for five minutes to film Dana and Conor. It went from that to being backstage in the dressing room with Conor ahead of his fights.
We never had the right credentials. It was a mess, but we still always managed to get in. Its kind of what Conor is known for. He gets so many exceptions made for him and we definitely benefited from that early on.