LAS VEGAS -- John Kavanagh, head coach of Irish superstar Conor McGregor, hates the word 'entourage.'
At least, he hates if when it's being used in any way to describe the large group of people who have inhabited the seven-bedroom house in Las Vegas, rented by Conor McGregor, during the past nine weeks.
"I don't know why, but 'entourage' bothers me," Kavanagh says. "It makes it sound like we're running around doing things for him. We're a training camp."
McGregor (17-2) faces the biggest fight of his career on Saturday, when he'll meet Chad Mendes (17-2) for the UFC's interim featherweight title. He was originally scheduled to fight Jose Aldo for the undisputed belt, but Aldo withdrew late last month due to a rib injury.
To prepare for the opportunity, McGregor, who fights out of Dublin, invited a cast of 13 people to spend more than two months with him in Las Vegas. The group consists of his girlfriend, eight training partners, two coaches, one masseuse and one documentary filmmaker.
Although what Kavanagh says is true -- none of the camp's members wait on McGregor hand and foot -- the fact they are all there specifically for him is indisputable. The No. 1 goal inside the McMansion, as it's been dubbed, is for McGregor to win on July 11.
"There was a difficulty at first, having so many people in the same house, getting them on the same page," said Patrick Timmons Ward, who is the director of The Notorious documentary series and has been sleeping on an air mattress in the McMansion garage throughout the camp. "It is all about getting Conor to the belt. Everyone helps in their own little way -- some help in a very big way. Everyone is part of a system. So, once everyone could kind of get over themselves, the entire group came into focus."
Tragic as it is, the majority of McGregor's nine-week camp won't even attend the fight. UFC president Dana White has already stated the live gate of Saturday's event will generate more than $7 million. In other words, complimentary tickets are scarce.
Wherever Team McGregor ends up watching the fight, however, they'll know they played a part in the end result.
"There's no one here that's paid to tell him, 'You're the best,'" Kavanagh said. "When we put this team together we looked at what each brought to the table and these were the right guys for what we wanted. They are friends and training partners."
Ahead of McGregor's title fight, meet the team he chose to surround himself with in Las Vegas -- and check out the strangest thing they've ever done to help him out.
Name: John Kavanagh
Relation to Conor: Head coach
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: Nothing strange, but we text each other at unusual times. We're both night people. It's not unusual for us to send each other a video of two gorillas wrestling at 3 a.m. and say, 'What do you think of this move?'
Name: Sergey Pikulskiy
Relation to Conor: Wrestling coach
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: Just to come train at 10 in the evening. He works out very late. Nothing besides that, really.
Name: Gunnar Nelson
From: Reykjavik, Iceland
Relation to Conor: Training partner
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: In Iceland, we eat the bone marrow there. You crack the bone and he asked me a few times to crack his bone for him to get the marrow out. How you do it depends on what kind of bone it is. Sometimes you have to snap it. Sometimes you have to use your knife and open up both sides so there is circulation and then you suck the bone marrow out. He loved it but he needed help getting it out.
Name: Tom Egan
Relation to Conor: Training partner and high school friend
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: The one that caught me off-guard the most was when we were in Boston (for McGregor's fight against Dennis Siver in January). Conor wasn't really feeling energetic and didn't want to do an interview over the phone. So, there's a whole bunch of people in the hotel room and he's like, 'I don't want to answer this call.' The UFC's PR people are there telling him he has to do it and he turns to me and goes, 'Tom, answer this phone call and pretend to be me and I'll give you $100.' I was like, 'What?' Somebody answered the phone and Conor just looked at me in dead silence and all the UFC people are like (silently shaking their heads), because they could have gotten in a lot of trouble. I could have done it. I could have been like, 'I 'tink I will put him away in the first round.' I really could have done it. But after about 10-to-15 seconds of complete panic in the room, Conor said 'hello' and did the interview and it was fine.
Name: Lee Hammond
Relation to Conor: Grappling partner
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: I don't know. One day he pulled up outside my house with Gunni [Gunnar Nelson]. I was in bed and it was about 4 p.m. and he wanted me to go to the aquatic center with him, to ride water slides. It's not that weird of a thing but it was random, out of the blue. He and Gunni wouldn't leave until I got ready and went.
Name: James Gallagher
Relation to Conor: Sparring partner
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: I guess just asking me to come to Las Vegas for 10 weeks is pretty strange. He was on the World Tour and I was just messaging with him. I asked him, 'You going to be in the gym this week?' He says, 'I'm going to be in Los Angeles for a couple weeks then I'm going to Vegas. Do you want to come live with me for 10 weeks?' I said, 'Wow, alright?' It's been a wonderful experience.
Name: Artem Lobov
Nickname: The Russian Hammer
From: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Relation to Conor: Training partner, cornerman
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: Funny enough, for all his UFC fights except one, he has worn my cup. He doesn't have a cup. I don't know why. I get to an arena with my cup to wear while I warm him and he doesn't have one, so I have to warm him up with no cup. And actually, one more UFC fighter wore that cup as well. At the UFC in Dublin card (in July 2014), Paddy Holohan wore it. Literally, I gave it to Paddy, he wore it, he gave it back to me and then I gave it to Conor. I don't know why he doesn't get his own cup. Maybe he just really likes mine. I'm not judging him.
Name: Nikolay Grozdev
Relation to Conor: Wrestling partner
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: Nothing. We have some good stories about training until 2 in the morning. Usually we train until 10 p.m. but a couple times we've stayed until 2.
Name: Frans Mlambo
Nickname: Black Mamba
From: Johannesburg, South Africa
Relation to Conor: Striking partner
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: I don't know. Something that comes to mind is the other day, Conor was staring at a watermelon -- and I always cut the watermelon in the house -- Conor picked up the watermelon didn't know what to do with it and threw it me. So, I cut it for him.
Name: Vasile Vria
Nickname: Doctor Pain
Relation to Conor: Masseuse
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: I give him two massages every day. Everything is normal. It's not difficult. He's a very easy guy if you want to understand him. To be his friend, it's very, very easy.
Name: Patrick Timmons Ward
Relation to Conor: Friend and director of his documentary
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: One day we were going to set up a shoot or something and he had a lot of security guards with him and he didn't really believe they were any good. So, what he wanted us to do was set up a fake hit on him, have a lot of guys run up to the car he was in and freak out the security guards. It was a pretty weird thing for him to ask. I think I talked him out of it. It was in Dublin, sometime last year.
Name: Dee Devlin
Relation to Conor: Girlfriend of eight years
Strangest thing Conor has ever asked of you: I definitely try to help him out all the time, even without realizing it -- especially around a fight because it's such a tough time with his weight. I cook, clean, pack his gym bag, all that kind of stuff. Strangest thing? He's kind of gotten into animal skins recently. He had already bout one pair of shoes that have a traveling passport, because they are made of python skin. So, if you fly to, say, California, it's illegal to buy them there so if you don't have a passport with them the'll be seized. So, the other day, we went to the shops on the Las Vegas Strip and he bought a pair of caimans, which I think is crocodile or something, and we brought them home and I said, 'Conor! These shoes have a passport, too!' So, him asking me, 'Make sure you pack my passport and my shoes' passport' when we travel I guess is pretty strange.
Editor's Note: McGregor's longtime striking coach and training partner Owen Roddy, from Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, is not pictured.