When upgrading the FW, you'll only see "Please Wait..." for about a second, then you're back in the main menu. Maybe you expected some more.
If it really isn't working you may try to burn the upgrade disc again on a good quality CD-R and as slow as possible. That helped another guy with the same problem.
Without MC there's no way to save your games, and no way to use BootManager.
Without BootManager you can't configure the chip and you can't use any features, like screen fixes and auto-DNAS-patch.
Get an original $ony 8mb MC and you'll never need another one. Check LaunchELF for a free game save backup solution.
best regards Jones23