UNITED STATES—Over the past week, an arrest and a series of jabs between the UFC and Conor McGregor have left the world of championship fighting in a strange place.
On April 4, at a press conference for UFC 223, UFC president Dana White officially announced that McGregor would be stripped of the 155 pound belt. The title of lightweight champion would be passed to the winner of the upcoming main event April 7 between Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The following night, McGregor and several members of his crew crashed the event’s media day just as it was wrapping up. As a bus full of the prominent UFC fighters tried to leave the garage, McGregor and a group of individuals with him attacked the bus. Smartphone video capturing the attack soon went viral on social media and YouTube.
Members of McGregor’s crew are shown shouting expletives and chasing down the bus as it tries to drive away. They squabble with security before Conor grabs a metal dolly and throws it at the first row window. Video captured McGregor yelling “Smash the windows,” while his crew continued to hit the bus with folding chairs.
The shattering glass injured fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg, who were both set to compete on Saturday. Suffering lacerations, the fighters were deemed unfit to fight and multiple events were cancelled. TMZ was first to break the news of the incident on their website.
“You can imagine he’s going to be sued beyond belief,” said UFC President Dana White. “I mean, do you want to be in business with Conor McGregor right now? Do you want to chase this guy around for interviews and buy his fights. Do you?”
McGregor turned himself into police. On April 6, he was freed on $50,000 bail. He faces several felony charges for Criminal Mischief and Assault and could potentially receive a prison sentence. According to reports, the attack appears to be motivated by McGregor’s bad blood with fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov. In the main event on Saturday at Barclays Center, Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta in a unanimous-decision fight to claim the UFC Lightweight Championship title.
In a statement to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, Nurmagomedov teased the idea of a McGregor fight. “To be honest, I don’t want him to go to jail,” the new lightweight champ said. “We have to fight. If we have to fight, let’s fight. Send me location. Please, we have to fix this. Me and you. One-on-one. You want 10-on-10? OK.”
It was revealed after the event that a surprise appearance from McGregor was planned before the stunt. Known for his tenacity and relentless trash talking, McGregor is the first and only fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously. He became a household name after his bout with boxer Floyd Mayweather in 2017. It was the highest grossing fight of all time. His next court date is set for June 14.