Conor McGregor says Meryl Streep’s negative comments motivated his performance in Road House

Conor McGregor has admitted that Meryl Streep’s negative take on mixed martial arts motivated him to give his best performance in Prime Video’s forthcoming movie, Road House.

In 2017, while accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes, the Devil Wears Prada actor, then 67, declared: “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Streep’s comments at the time caused outrage among several high-profile fighters and prominent figures linked with the sport.

Mixed martial artist and professional boxer McGregor, 35, makes his acting debut in Doug Liman’s remake of the 1989 cult classic, Road House.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s recent New York City premiere, McGregor shared a defence of the sport, telling the publication: “Fighting is the most beautiful form of art, and you know, it’s a great thing to come into this game, which is also art.

“I was really taken aback,” he said of Streep’s comments, “because fighting is an art. It’s brutal also, so I can understand.

“It’s not for somebody to make a mistake; it’s real artistry for those who do what we do, so I came in [to filming Road House] with maybe a little chip on my shoulder and wanting to represent my sport and my art, give my best in this arena.”

Conor McGregor and Meryl Streep (Getty Images)
Conor McGregor and Meryl Streep (Getty Images)

In the film, McGregor plays a character named Knox opposite Jake Gyllenhaal’s ex-UFC fighter Dalton, who takes a job as a bouncer at a rowdy bar in the Florida Keys.

Gyllenhaal said he sliced his hand open on a piece of glass while filming one of the film’s many barfight scenes.

“We’re fighting on the floor, fighting around tables, we’re fighting around glass,” the Donnie Darko actor, 43, said on an episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast. He added that he then put his hand on the bar and placed it onto “f***ing straight glass”.

“I felt the glass going in my hand. I remember the feeling [and] went, ‘That’s a lot of glass,’” Gyllenhaal recalled. “My whole arm swelled up, and it ended up being staph.”

Conor McGregor and Jake Gyllenhaal at the ‘Road House’ New York premiere (Getty Images)
Conor McGregor and Jake Gyllenhaal at the ‘Road House’ New York premiere (Getty Images)

Patrick Swayze originated the role of Dalton in director Rowdy Herrington’s 1989 Road House. Sam Elliot, Kelly Lynch, Ben Gazzara and Jeff Healey also featured.

Months before the remake had its 8 March world premiere at the Texas SXSW film festival, Liman announced he would boycott the screening over Amazon Prime’s decision for a streaming-only release.

Gyllenhaal later disputed Liman’s claims, telling Total Film Magazine in a February interview that the film was always set for a streaming release rather than in cinemas.

Road House will be available to stream on Amazon’s Prime Video from Thursday 21 March.