Sports Stars With Tattoos – Part III

While we could continue with football stars such as Sydney Leroux, Arturo Vidal and, of course, David Beckham in infinitum, let’s switch it up a bit. In this post, we take a look at MMA legend Connor McGregor, and American Track and Field star Inika McPherson. Both of whom are covered in some seriously significant body art. 

Gorillas and tigers for MMA McGregor

Nicknamed ‘The Notorious’, the Irish lightweight champion is often called the face of Mixed Martial Arts. And quite rightly so. From his pre-game talk, press conferences, and yes, fights, he is a performance in and of himself. And the distinct body art, often on display due to the minimal MMA costumes, are part and parcel of the character and persona in and out of the octagonal ‘ring’. 

The largest and most conspicuous tattoo on McGregor has to be the gorilla on his chest. A gorilla that is, in fact, wearing a crown and feasting on a human heart. Connor has stated that he perceives himself as the king gorilla, so that is what’s up with the crown. The eating of the heart is a different tale, but most likely it is to strike fear in opponents looking at his bare chest.

The logo of McGregor’s home gym in Dublin, Straight Blast Gym, is also a gorilla. While it’s not the exact same one, he has said he also wanted to honour the place he has spent years training. 

The tiger on his abdomen, sitting right between lettering spelling out ‘McGregor’ and ‘Notorious’ does not have quite as much symbolism to it. McGregor has simply stated that he finds tigers to be courageous animals and so he “went out and got one.” Hopefully, he was as tough getting inked on the belly as he is in a fight. 

On his left forearm, there is a rose bush along with a pocket watch set to 3.35 pm, a dagger, an Irish gentleman and a tiny cartoon wearing boxing gloves. Furthermore, Connor has a helix of thorns running along his spine, intertwining with a cross at the nape of his neck. However, the latter should not be seen as an expression of religious affiliation. As McGregor has famously stated, “F**k politics and f**k religion. I just want to swing a few lefts and a few rights for a couple of hundred mill in peace.”

Rio finalist McPherson

American track and field athlete Inika McPherson specialises in the high jump. She has claimed the US championship title both in- and outdoors, and is an Olympic finalist. She is the only woman of her height, 5ft 4in, to clear 6ft 6in. More importantly for this list, she also has over 30 tattoos on her body.

One of them is one her face – a pair of red lips, which she has said represents how a grandmother might kiss you on the cheek. Across her collarbones, lettering reads “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, something inked people struggling against societal conventions have known for a long time.

The homage to maternal lineage runs strong with McPherson. Her most beloved piece of ink is a drawing of Betty Boop that she had done in 2008 while studying at UC Berkeley. It is to commemorate her relationship and her memories with her mother. Her mom was working as a nurse in Texas while she was growing up, and McPherson would sit in front of the television while her mother took care of patients. 

“I fell in love with the independent Betty Boop and how she carried herself, but most of all, I fell in love with the moments and memories I’ll always have and hold on to with my mom.”

Furthermore, she has a skull on the inside of her right lower arm, a cross with wings on her upper, and a homage to her home town Port Arthur on her left arm. She also has a hummingbird on her neck that she has said represents the message that “Life moves on, and you should always look to the future”. Not to mention all the other 25 something pieces. Now that is pretty badass, as if being an Olympian wasn’t enough.