How the mighty fall. Former UFC champion Conor McGregor, with boxing aspirations, is once again in hot water for stupidity.
The ridiculous antics that were once upon a time so amusing, have finally spiraled well out of control. McGregor has been busy keeping his name on tongues and pen tips by doing all manor of things but defend his belts. From jumping over the caged ring of Bellator events and assaulting their employees, to now causing injury to a UFC employee, and two fighters outside the octagon.
A continuation of a spat that had taken place between Khabib Nurmagomedov – who has a fight coming up this weekend for one of McGregor’s stripped belts, and McGregor’s teammate and friend, Artem Lobov. It would seem that the former two division champion thought it wise to force his way into the Barclay center in New York with a posse of “about twenty” goons in tow, and stormed through the building where a press conference for the fight was taking place. Eventually leading the McGregor mob to a parking garage or loading dock where Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters, including straw-weight champ “Thug” Rose Namajunas, where onboard a bus back to their hotel, and attempting to leave.
After attempting and failing to gain entry to the coach, he and his band of twits instead began hurling whatever could be found at the vehicle – including a metal gate. These efforts resulted in shattered windows on the bus, which caused lacerations to two UFC fighters, Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg. Both Borg (versus Brandon Moreno) and Chiesa (versus Anthony Pettis) have been ruled out of their bouts this Saturday as a result. Artem Lobov’s match against Alex Caceres has also been pulled due to Lobov’s involvement in this incident.
Lobov is at the heart of this whole ordeal. He and Khabib Nurmagomedov, the card’s headliner and rapidly rising star, had a coming together at a hotel days prior. Here is where the story really twists and spirals into lore that will be retold for years to come; “Artem Lobov, who is on the under-card, is a very, very close friend of Conor McGregor,” said Dana White. “He got into an altercation with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team. When Conor found out, he loaded up the plane full of guys from Ireland, flew over here, and coordinated this attack.”
White posted a video response where he called McGregor’s actions “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company” and suggested his prized prize fighter will be reprimanded – but is that enough? How far is White and the UFC willing to bend to appease McGregor; who undeniably is the promotions biggest draw. To what lengths will they go and how much will they swallow before they say enough is enough? Truth remains, Conor McGregor was a dream find for White, and together the pair have earned a mint. Up until the Mayweather bout anyway.
Since then, McGregor has been on self-destruct autopilot. This most recent display of gangsterism and lawlessness will no doubt tarnish the polish on his gold. Hopefully it’ll serve as a slice of humble pie and bring the lad back to his senses. More likely though, it’ll load his enemies guns with silver bullets that he’ll no doubt be dodging at press conferences for some time to come. McGregor faces charges of assault and criminal mischief and will likely have multiple days in court for his outburst.
Making an enemy of Khabib Nurmagomedov definitely seems like a poor choice. When questioned about the incident, Nurmagomedov remained calm, cool and collected. “I am laughing inside,” Nurmagomedov said. “You broke a window? Why? Come inside. You know UFC don’t let you come inside. If you real gangster why don’t you come inside?” Nurmagomedov is perhaps the scariest man currently fighting in the promotion, and his cool demeanor speaks volumes. “This is big history gangster place. Brooklyn. You want to talk to me? Send me location. We have to talk? I am gonna come, no problem. I grew up like this – I don’t grow up throwing chairs at window. This is not my bus.”
In February of this year, Nurmagomedov hinted that he wouldn’t consider a match-up against McGregor. Giving the Irishman a chance to reclaim his throne. “If he wanna fight with me, he have to stand in the line,” said Nurmagomedov. “He have to beg.” That has most probably changed, as long as the UFC continues to employ the out of favor Irish antagonist.
Mixed Martial Arts was once about respect and honor. But more and more of its limelight representatives and turning out to be the complete opposite of that. (I’m looking at you too, Nate Diaz.) No athletes; especially highly trained martial artists, should be permitted to waltz around acting as if they are members of an organized crime syndicate. Doing whatever they please to whomever they please. This is a black eye for the UFC and MMA in general.
Conor McGregor did eventually surrender himself to the NYPD and will face several criminal charges for his actions. For all his boasting about how he himself is the UFC – he seemingly taketh away as he giveth. The damage he has caused the promotion is immeasurable. Not just to the company’s public image but to what was looking to be one the greatest cards of the year. “The police are going to take care of Conor. The police are going to handle Conor, and I know a handful of people here already that are filing lawsuits against Conor McGregor.
God knows how many lawsuits he’s going to have by the time this is done,” said White. Adding “What happened today was criminal, disgusting, despicable. It makes me sick, and we as an organization need to make sure that this never happens again.” In the following days I imagine we shall learn of the consequences McGregor’s tirade will have. Both with the law and his employers. Perhaps his nonsense will earn the Irishman a blacklisting from returning to compete in the United States of America, and if so, he will have only himself to blame.