Six-year-old Canton resident Malcolm Lathem became an overnight sensation in the sports world when his spot-on impression of MMA superstar Conor McGregor’s strut during a baseball game made the rounds through several sports social media sites and pages.

“We were super excited and shocked that the video I had posted just the day before went viral,” said Malcolm’s mother, Taylor. “Malcolm didn’t believe me when I told him that McGregor had sent him a message and shared his video on his Instagram and followed him. He told me ‘you’re lying,’ but when he found out, he was jumping up and down and was super excited.”

The video that made Malcolm an internet sensation was posted by Taylor on Malcolm’s Instagram page March 27. The baseball game was played last summer, but was only posted and shared a couple of weeks ago.

On March 28, the video grew more popular and was shared by several sports pages and baseball companies. On March 30, Sportsnet shared the video, followed by the House of Highlights Instagram page. The House of Highlights video has accumulated over 1 million views.

The video ultimately was seen and shared by ESPN MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), as well as McGregor himself, who is one of the most dominant MMA fighters in history and who originated the strut. McGregor shared and commented on the post, ultimately sharing two more posts of Malcolm doing a McGregor impression and another video of Malcolm doing the McGregor walk.

“He does the McGregor strut every time he walks to the plate for his at-bat,” Taylor said. “He loves McGregor. His teacher told us that he does the walk whenever he does something good at school.”

Malcolm also likes to dress up as McGregor. He has a fake beard, fake tattoos, boxers, a championship belt and the flag of Ireland, which is McGregor’s homeland, to further prove his love and admiration for the mixed martial artist.

“I found a person on Etsy that makes McGregor tattoos, so I ordered them off the website,” Taylor said. “I ordered a gray beard and colored it to make it resemble McGregor’s hair color. Malcolm dressed up as McGregor on Halloween, during the fighters’ last fight and he even wore it to a baseball tournament one time.”

Malcolm became such a fan of McGregor that he started taking Jiu-Jitsu classes, which is the closest thing to MMA that Malcolm can do given his age, Taylor said. She added that Malcolm’s confidence has grown when playing baseball or practicing Jiu-Jitsu since following McGregor’s career and he has his mind set on what he wants to do for a career.

“Malcolm’s goal is to make it in the MLB (Major League Baseball), then, once he retires from baseball, he wants to enter the world of MMA,” Taylor said. “He practices baseball and Jiu-Jitsu every day. He is very determined.”

To see Malcolm’s McGregor impressions, as well as the viral video, visit his Instagram at malcolmbaseball24 and www.instagram.com/p/B-XO0QXA-us.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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