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Mixed martial arts, spearheaded by UFC, has moved out of the background to become a money-making machine.
A nervous silence emanates across the arena as the lights cut. It's a stark contrast to what is about to come. Moments later, the sound of bagpipes ring out, cutting through the silence, as hues of green, orange and white illuminate the arena.
Close to 15,000 spectators from around the globe have piled into the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. They've shelled out close to US$1000 a head - and for some, many multiples more - for the privilege.
Tonight, they're here for one man, and one man only.
Conor McGregor has become a global sensation seemingly overnight. Blessed with both a silver tongue and the athletic prowess to back up his big mouth, McGregor has talked the talk and walked the walk, rising from relative obscurity to become a world champion barely two years after making his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut.
But this month in Las Vegas, the "any man, any time, any place" fighter took on too much too soon.
McGregor was originally slated to fight for the lightweight title - a bid to become the first fighter to hold titles in two weight classes concurrently - but an injury to his opponent a week out from their UFC 196 bout forced a major change.
Agreeing to take on contender Nate Diaz at welterweight, 11kg above his usual fighting weight, McGregor boasted: "I don't care about weight. It makes no difference to me. Wherever it's at, give me an opponent, and a date, and that's it."
But after dominating the fight through the first round and a half, a noticeably tired McGregor was caught with a hard left cross, initiating a sequence which saw the Irishman forced to tap out - ending a perfect record inside the UFC and throwing the promotion's plans for 2016 into disarray.
"I came up short. I took a chance, it didn't pay off, I'll be back," McGregor said following the fight.
It's a tough pill to swallow. We can either run from adversity or we can face our adversity head on and conquer it, and that is what I plan to do. I will take it on the chin and I will carry on. I will learn from it.
Although still the reigning featherweight champion, what impact this will have on his drawing power - and subsequently his revenue generating potential for the UFC, is still to be determined.
With a history making bout originally on the cards for the promotion's landmark UFC 200 event, where their biggest star goes from here will now require a rethink.
"I still feel like UFC 200 is there for me. I will go back and sit. I'm not cut, I'm simply heartbroken and that's it. I'll pick myself up and we'll figure it out in the morning," he said.
"It's a tough pill to swallow. We can either run from adversity or we can face our adversity head on and conquer it, and that is what I plan to do. I will take it on the chin and I will carry on. I will learn from it."
It was a far cry from just days earlier, where McGregor had told the Herald of his plans to be the UFC's billion-dollar-man.