Alibaba’s Ma says Trump’s trade war ‘destroyed’ his promise to create jobs for 1mn Americans

Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma has said that his promise to Donald Trump to create one million jobs in the US is no longer valid and viable after Washington slapped Beijing with new round of tariffs on $ 200bn worth of goods.

When Jack Ma met president Trump in January 2017, he laid out a five-year vision which would create one million jobs in the United States. Instead of building factories, or establishing Alibaba operation centers in the US, the Chinese billionaire expressed hope that small American businesses can sell goods to consumers in China thereby creating more domestic jobs in the US. Just over eighteen months down the line, Trump and his protectionist trade practices seem to have ruined these prospects for small businesses, such as farmers and small clothing makers, who could have tapped the Chinese market.

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Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017 © Ruben Sprich

“This commitment is based on friendly China-US cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade,” Ma said Wednesday. “The current situation has already destroyed the original premise. There is no way to deliver the promise.”

While promising to “promote the healthy development” of Sino-US trade, the 54-year-old entrepreneur noted that the “previous basis for trade has been undermined,” amid ongoing trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

“Trade is not a weapon and cannot be used for wars,” he added, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua news agency. “Trade should be the propeller of peace.”

Instead of helping American small businesses reach Chinese consumers, one of the richest men in China said Alibaba will seek business opportunities elsewhere, mainly in Russia, Europe, South America, and Africa.

READ MORE: China to impose new tariffs on US goods worth $ 60 billion effective September 24

Ma, who recently announced his departure as the chairman of the Chinese retail giant next year, slammed Trump’s policies just two days after Washington announced a 10 percent tariff on another $ 200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing hit back on Tuesday with levies on $ 60 billion of US products.

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Hurricane Florence flooding kills millions of farm animals

Millions of birds and thousands of pigs have died as a result of Hurricane Florence, according to North Carolina agriculture officials. That number may rise due to additional flooding.

An estimated 3.4 million chickens and turkeys, as well as 5,500 pigs, have been lost as a result of the flooding, according to a preliminary report by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. There were no estimates of crop losses.

North Carolina is one of the top states in the nation producing pork and poultry. The storm dumped more than 8 trillion gallons of water on the state over a five-day period.  

“The storm’s impact was felt deeply across a very large region,” the North Carolina Pork Council said on Tuesday. The reported losses were “the result of all aspects of the storm, including wind damage and flooding. We are saddened by this outcome,” the council added.

Though some areas are still flooding, the council does not expect the losses to “increase significantly.” There are approximately 8.9 million pigs across 2,100 hog farms in North Carolina.

More poultry deaths could soon occur at farms near Lumberton,as flood waters have hampered the delivery of feed, poultry producer Sanderson Farms told AP.

Meanwhile, many pets and stray cats and dogs have been rescued from the flood waters, with photos emerging of many animals riding in kayaks or sitting in shelters awaiting care and, ultimately, adoption.

One particular animal lover by the name of Tony Alsup made headlines after he bought a school bus to rescue pets that would otherwise be left behind, managing to evacuate a total of 53 dogs and 11 cats from animal shelters located in the path of Hurricane Florence.

READ MORE: Flood waters leave workers stranded at North Carolina nuclear plant

One shelter praised him on their Facebook page. “It’s all true – Tony swooped in at 4am Wednesday morning to pick up our ‘leftovers’ – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart,” wrote the Saint Frances Animal Shelter.

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‘Immigration is not a human right’: Hungary slams ‘pro-migrant’ UN officials for ‘spreading lies’

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has accused the UN human rights watchdog of “spreading lies” about his country, saying that immigration was not a “fundamental human right.”

The official took aim at the “independent experts” with the UN Human Rights Council, stating they “should not be independent from the truth.”

“Recently, unfortunately, some UN officials started to spread lies against and about my country,” Szijjarto told the UN body’s meeting on Wednesday.

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Andrej Babis (L) and Viktor Orban during a press conference in January, 2018  © Attila Volgyi/Global Look Press

Such officials would like to “force on us impossible things,” namely allowing illegal migrants into the country, Szijjarto stated. “They say that migration is a fundamental human right, which is a lie,” he stressed.

The harsh statement of the foreign minister came as a response to criticism against Hungarian anti-immigration policies. Last week, the UN rights body blasted the so-called ‘Stop Soros’ law, adopted by the country’s government back in July. The UN paper said Hungary “attacks against civil society, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers” with the law, adding that it’s against the international human rights law and poses a threat to the “values” of the whole European Union.

It added that it targets the critical “civil society” and fuels “hostility, xenophobia and … discrimination against migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and all those trying to provide them support.”

The ‘Stop Soros’ law has imposed restrictions on foreign NGOs, which work with migrants, obliging them to seek licenses from the government. It also criminalized aiding migrants, namely “providing financial or property benefit” to them or simply informing them about the asylum-seeking procedures. Those who do so could now face 12 months in jail.

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FILE PHOTO A camp of makeshift shelters for migrants and asylum-seekers near Calais, France. © Yves Herman

The controversial law is named after Hungarian-born billionaire, globalist and strong supporter of open-border policies George Soros. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly accused him of conspiring to stir unrest in his native country and to undermine Europe’s stability with mass-migration waves.

A strong anti-immigration stance has also put Budapest at odds with the EU. Last week, the EU parliament greenlighted a move to trigger Article 7 of the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon against Hungary. The provision is designed to be applied when there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of EU values by one of its member states and is often referred to as the ‘nuclear option’ of the bloc. If fully implemented, Budapest would be deprived from voting rights in the EU.

Budapest, in turn, accused Brussels of wishing to turn Hungary into a “country of migrants,” calling the EU parliament vote a “petty revenge” of the pro-immigration crowd. Other countries, who are at odds with the EU over immigration policies, namely Poland and Czech Republic, rushed to support Budapest after voting on Article 7. Last year, Poland itself became the target for the same Article 7 proceedings, over its judicial reform.

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Referendum, again? May & Tory minister at odds as EU wants UK’s Brexit plan ‘reworked’

As the EU sent London to rework its Brexit plan, British PM Theresa May insisted it will not accept a second referendum – hours after the Tory treasury minister admitted that another vote could happen “within months.”

At a summit with fellow European leaders in Salzburg on Tuesday, May once again stressed that the UK would be leaving the EU in March 2019, making it clear that the British government would not accept a second referendum on whether to leave the bloc.

Her comments, however, put her at odds with Treasury Minister Mel Stride, a top Tory in the current government, who told Sky News just hours beforehand that MPs could possibly trigger a new vote if they reject May’s ‘Chequers’ plan, which proposes close post-Brexit ties between the EU and the UK.

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Vince Cable and wife Rachel Smith listen to a speech at the Liberal Democrats conference in Brighton. March 10, 2013. © Luke MacGregor

“Those to the right of the party – the pro-Brexit wing will be very concerned that if that deal doesn’t prevail, they’ll end up in the situation where we could have a second referendum and we could end up not leaving the EU altogether,” he said.

“So there is a danger of that happening if Chequers doesn’t prevail.”

His comments quickly sparked a conversation among some of Brexit’s most outspoken critics, including MP Tulip Siddiq, a Labour supporter of the anti-Brexit ‘Best for Britain’ group.

“This is one small step for the minister but a giant stride for our campaign to deliver a people’s vote,” she said, as quoted by The Independent.

Alison McGovern, an MP with the People’s Vote campaign also chimed in. “This has changed everything. A minister has had the courage to tell the truth about the mess the government are in over Brexit and let the cat out of the bag,” she said.

The EU criticized proposals within May’s Chequers plan at the summit on Tuesday, warning that they needed to be “reworked and further negotiated.” European Council President Donald Tusk said that major hurdles remained, including the UK’s policy on Ireland and the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU. 

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she hopes there will be a Brexit which takes place with respect and in a “good atmosphere,” while Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stressed the need for a deal to be reached, in order to avoid both sides getting hurt.

“We are striving to make a compromise possible. [EU Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier is doing well, he has our full support. He has taken a step towards the British. Now we expect a willingness to compromise from the British, hopefully to bring about a deal,” Kurz said before the meeting of EU leaders.

“We will propose today an extraordinary summit in November and if the member states support this, it will happen. Hopefully by then we will reach an agreement with Great Britain.”

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Mainstream media gangs up on Sanders over ‘Stop BEZOS’ bill

Senator Bernie Sanders’ anti-corporate welfare bill aims to hammer the companies that pay their workers so poorly they need government aid to survive. Corporate media outlets are gunning for Sanders in response.

The Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act (Stop BEZOS) would impose a tax on companies equal to the amount of money their employees receive from federal welfare programs such as food stamps or Medicaid. It would apply to both full- and part-time employees as well as independent contractors.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California) co-wrote the bill with Sanders (I-Vermont). While more symbolic than workable, it “speaks to the injustice people perceive – that the market isn’t properly rewarding work,” Khanna said.

The proposed bill would target companies with 500 or more employees, including some of America’s largest corporations such as Amazon, Apple and Walmart. Its name is a pointed jab at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. Bezos is worth $ 160 billion, and earns the median salary of an Amazon worker – $ 28,000 – every nine seconds.

Workers in Amazon’s UK distribution facilities are often so overworked that they are reportedly forced to urinate in bottles to make their quotas. In the US, a large number of them earn such a pittance that they rely on food stamps to make ends meet, and Medicaid to take care of their healthcare needs. In Arizona, one in three Amazon workers is on food stamps.

Amid the negative publicity, Amazon has resorted to paying employees to tweet nice things about the company. The tweets praise working conditions at warehouses while repeating the mantra of “safety is the priority and we just want to get your packages out on time.”

But Bezos apparently has little to fear. Since Sanders unveiled his ambitious proposal, the mainstream media has taken over PR duties for his omnipresent megacorporation.

“In Bernie Sanders vs. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, only workers lose” read a headline from USA Today on Sunday. What Sanders proposes, economist Ryan Bourne argued, is “dangerous,” as it would make workers who would rely on government assistance unemployable. Implicit in this argument is the assumption that Amazon is duty-bound to pay the lowest wage possible, instead of raising it to avoid this situation in the first place.

“Shareholders and customers of companies should not be responsible for every factor of their workers’ lives,” Bourne wrote. He is the chair in public understanding at the Cato Institute, a think tank of free-market evangelists that sits somewhere to the right of Ayn Rand.

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© Mark Makela

“Bernie Sanders Picks the Wrong Kind of Fight With Amazon,” declared Noah Smith in Bloomberg last week. Making a similar case to Bourne’s, Smith argues that Amazon would be morally bound to fire workers before raising the minimum wage, or would actually cut wages to save money. As government benefits don’t rise 1-for-1 with falling income, Amazon could game the system instead of raising wages.

Instead, Smith suggests federally mandating a higher minimum wage, which is a frequent progressive talking point.

The Washington Post (fully owned by Bezos), blasted Sanders for trying to “outsource the fight against poverty,” which editor Charles Lane argues is the government’s job.

“Bezos is good at many things,” Lane wrote on Tuesday. “As a businessman whose shareholders depend on him to meet the demand for low-cost consumer goods, however, he’s not well-positioned to produce public goods. And equality and a decent safety net, like a working court system and national defense, are public goods.”

But Amazon is not the only corporation that would have to change its ways under the bill proposed by Sanders. Walmart and McDonalds have more employees on food stamps, according to an analysis by New Food Economy. Accusations of abusing corporate welfare have been leveled at Walmart for decades. Most notably, liberal agitator Michael Moore focused a large segment of his 2009 documentary ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ on the practice.

In naming Bezos, however, Sanders takes advantage of the billionaire’s ‘household name’ status to get people talking about income inequality and ending it, something the Vermont socialist has been pushing for decades. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi argued on Tuesday that this was the senator’s aim all along.

That kind of publicity seems to work, too. Walmart raised its minimum wage to $ 9 per hour in 2015, citing a desire to improve workers’ welfare, and therefore customer service in-store. Earlier this year, the retail giant bumped its minimum wage up again to $ 11, with CEO Doug McMilon crediting President Donald Trump’s trillion-dollar tax cuts for making the jump possible.

In painting a target on Amazon, Sanders has also made himself an otherwise unlikely ally. Trump has blasted Amazon for taking advantage of a tax loophole that allows online retailers to avoid paying state-level taxes. He has also attacked Bezos for putting small-scale ‘mom and pop’ retailers out of business, taking advantage of the US postal system, and perhaps most importantly to him, funding negative articles on his administration in the Washington Post.

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‘Get your rifle, piece of trash’: Maduro lashes out at OAS chief after ‘military intervention’ quote

Nicolas Maduro has lashed out at the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), calling him a “piece of trash” that belongs in “history’s dump,” for hinting at the possibility of military intervention against Venezuela.

OAS Secretary-General, Luis Almagro, should “prepare his rifle” if he wants to invade his country, Maduro said during a press conference in Caracas on Tuesday, adding that “we are waiting for you here.”

The Venezuelan leader called Almagro a “piece of trash” belonging to the “dump of history.”

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Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro waves to people during his visit to the Colombia-Venezuela border at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, September 14, 2018. © Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

“Venezuela is a country of men and women who will force such trash as this to respect them,” he added.

The angry remarks came in response to comments made by Almagro last week. The OAS chief suggested that “military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro” was a viable option to deal with the Venezuelan crisis. He somewhat retracted his remark since then, however, claiming his words had been misunderstood.

“I said that we must exhaust the path to diplomatic action and that we must leave all options open. This was interpreted as though we were talking about military interventions,” the OAS chief stated on Monday, adding, however, that he will never remain silent until the “dictatorship” in Venezuela falls.

Maduro and chief of the Washington, DC-based OAS Almagro have repeatedly engaged in a war of words, calling each other “traitors.” Back in 2016, the Venezuelan leader accused Almagro of being a “CIA agent,” who turned the organization into a US pawn. The latter dismissed the accusations, claiming Maduro “slandered” him.

The recent controversial remarks by Almagro came shortly after a report, issued by the New York Times, alleging that Donald Trump’s administration has long been conspiring with a group of Venezuelan officers to overthrow the government in Caracas. At least 11 unnamed US officials and one former Venezuelan commander supposedly took part in the plot.

The White House commented on the report quite vaguely, stating Washington “hears daily concerns of Venezuelans,” including some from the country’s “security services.” The information provided in the report, however, was never explicitly denied.

READ MORE: ‘US role in Venezuela over past 20 years a case of meddling after meddling’

Venezuela has been enduring political instability, economic problems and hyperinflation over the past months, which are reinforced by the mounting external pressure. The US has imposed a set of sanctions on the country, targeting its finances and debt issuance. Washington, however, stopped short of sanctioning the country’s oil sector, which is the cornerstone of its economy, since the US purchases a large part of its crude oil from Caracas.

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Ronaldo & Juventus targeted by 'hooligans' with fireworks before UCL match against Valencia

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates were the target of a 3am firework blitz in a “simple case of hooliganism” while in their hotel ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game with Valencia.

According to local government delegate Juan Carlos Fulgencio, “A group of people set off firecrackers and bangers outside the hotel at around three in the morning. They were also holding a banner insulting Juventus,” Mail Online reported.

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Massimo Pinca

The group set off bangers in the early hours of the morning but Fulgencio ensured it was “a small incident, a simple case of hooliganism.”

Juve begin their Champions League campaign against the Spanish side in Group H with Ronaldo having bagged his first goals for the Turin club at the weekend versus Sassuolo in a 2-1 win at Allianz Arena on Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘I’d beat Conor McGregor’s a**!’ – world champion boxer Thurman calls out ‘The Notorious’ (VIDEO)

The first of those goals was perhaps the easiest of Ronaldo’s career, but no less significant, as a mistake from the defender left the ball at his feet to tap into an empty net with the ‘keeper already grounded. 

READ MORE: ‘You don’t know what he said’: Juventus winger Douglas Costa hits back in spit shame row

Also in that game, Juve winger Douglas Costa was red-carded in injury time for shamefully spitting at Sassuolo’s Federico Di Francesco. Costa, 28, later posted an apology to Juventus teammates and fans on his Instagram account, although he replied to one comment by saying that people did not know what Di Francesco had said to him to provoke his anger.

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1 dead, 4 injured in Pennsylvania court office shooting

One person has been killed and four others injured following a shooting at a Pennsylvania court office, according to local authorities.

The shooting occurred at the offices of Magisterial District Judge Daniel Shimshock. The office was holding preliminary hearings this afternoon, according to the court schedule.

At least four people have been hospitalized and one has been pronounced dead at the scene, a Fayette County Emergency Management spokesperson told media. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the deceased person is the gunman.

The nearby Masontown Elementary School has been placed on a soft lockdown. State police are at the school and children are being released to their parents. Students who attend a local middle school are being transported to a nearby fire station where they can be picked up by their parents.

The Fayette County Coroner has been called the scene following the shooting.

The shooting occurred in Masontown, a small community with a population of about 3,450 at the 2010 census. It is located 65 miles from Pittsburgh and is considered part of the city’s metro area.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

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‘No room at the morgue’: Horror in Mexican city as 157 corpses stored in truck parked in suburb

Mexican authorities have fired an official from its forensics unit following a public outcry, after over 150 decomposing bodies were driven around a suburban area of the Mexican state of Jalisco in a refrigerated truck.

Residents were alarmed by a horrible stench coming from a truck and it emerged that it was filled with 157 unclaimed bodies; morgue officials had moved it several times around the Guadalajara area due to lack of burial space.

The corpse-filled truck was first spotted last week, parked in a warehouse in the outskirts of Guadalajara, the capital of Mexico’s Jalisco State, the paper El Universal reported. The vehicle belonged to the state forensic institute. The residents complained about the rancid smell coming from the truck, so a local mayor asked it to be moved someplace else.

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© Adrees Latif

The next day the vehicle was discovered parked in an open area in a different neighborhood, emitting the same stench. The residents, once again joined by local officials, filed several complaints. The outcry caused the truck to be moved to the government-run Guadalajara industrial zone.

Jalisco Governor fired the director of the local Forensics Institute Luis Octavio Cotero, saying he was guilty of “negligence.” But Cotero told local media two years ago he had warned that the number of homicides in the area meant that the morgue couldn’t handle the number of corpses.

Killings in Mexico’s western state are at a record high of 16,339 so far this year; it’s home to one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful drug gangs, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Morgues are filled to capacity with victims of the country’s drug war.

Work is currently underway on a new facility to hold 700 bodies, the state’s general secretary Roberto Lopez said last week.

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‘Who the f*** is that guy?’: Conor McGregor’s most brutal put-downs

Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor rarely fails to live up to his reputation inside the octagon and out of it – including with trash talk as brutal as his left hooks in the cage.

READ MORE: UFC to host Times Square viewing for first McGregor v Khabib press conference

Before McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov meet in New York on Thursday at the first press conference ahead of their UFC 229 megabout, we look back at some of the Irish megastar’s most withering put-downs from previous pressers.

ON DUSTIN POIRIER:

“He’s a quiet, little hillbilly from the back arse of nowhere. His cousin is probably named Cletus.”

McGregor established himself as one of UFC’s sharpest talkers early on – including ahead of his bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 in 2014.

McGregor proceeded to finish Poirier with a brutal left hook in the first round.

ON DENNIS SIVER:

“My thoughts on Dennis Siver is that he’s a midget German steroid-head.”

McGregor’s verbal lashing of Russian-born German fighter Siver ahead of their UFC bout in 2015 was brutal in its simplicity and perfectly executed – much like McGregor’s second-round TKO victory.

The Irishman had also controversially tweeted “Kiss my feet Nazi” before the bout, although he later deleted the post and apologized to Siver.    

ON JOSE ALDO:

“If this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback, and would kill anyone who wasn’t fit to work, but we’re in a new time, so I’ll whoop his ass in July.”

Aldo got a battering from McGregor inside the cage and out of it. Ahead of the pair’s scheduled bout at UFC 189 in 2015, McGregor mocked the Brazilian’s background with a scathing verbal assault.

ON JOSE ALDO (AGAIN):

“After that five-round Mendes fight, which arguably could’ve went to him, you look like you’ve had a stroke. The left side of your face is drooping. I’m worried about you.”

Aldo pulled out of the fight at UFC 189 due to injury, although McGregor savaged him at the press conference ahead of the rearranged bout at UFC 194 later in the year. The Notorious went on to demolish Aldo in 13 seconds.

On Rafael Dos Anjos:

“I will behead Rafael Dos Anjos. I will drag his head through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Through a parade of people, I’d imagine. It will become a national holiday.”

McGregor famously savaged Dos Anjos 12 times at a press conference ahead of their planned bout at in 2016.   

The pick of a brutal verbal volley was perhaps the brash Irishman’s vow that his destruction of his Brazilian opponent would be so savage it would be celebrated as a national holiday.   

Dos Anjos pulled out of the bout due to injury, meaning Nate Diaz stepped in – setting the stage for more withering insults…

On Nate Diaz:

“My socks are worth more than the suit you had on, you little bum. You’re a broke b****. I could buy and sell you a hundred times over.”

McGregor’s rivalry with Diaz is one to grace the UFC history books, and also brought out some of the Irishman’s most scathing trash talk – a prime example being McGregor’s tirade ahead of UFC196.  

On stepping up to 170lbs to face Diaz, McGregor also said: “The only approach I changed is I dug the grave a bit wider and a bit longer for Nate’s skinny, fat, long body. That’s the only difference I made.”

Diaz went on to win the bout via second-round submission – although McGregor gained revenge in the rematch.

On Jeremy Stephens:

“Who the f*** is that guy!?”

What is arguably McGregor’s most memorable put-down came against a fighter he wasn’t even facing in the octagon.

At the press conference for UFC 205 in 2016 – where McGregor was up against Eddie Alvarez – the Irishman was asked who his biggest rival was.

That prompted featherweight Jeremy Stephens to chime in: “Right here, the real hardest-hitting 145-lber, right here.”

McGregor let Stephens finish before eviscerating him with a line to echo down the ages. 

“Who the f*** is that guy!?” 

Classic McGregor. 

READ MORE: Khabib will take survival instincts into cage against McGregor – UFC flyweight champ Cejudo (VIDEO)

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