Mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor turned himself into police Thursday and was arrested and charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after his role in a fracas that left UFC fighter Michael Chiesa in the hospital with a facial laceration. The incident took place after a media event ahead of Saturday’s UFC 223 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
According to the Independent, McGregor was held overnight and remained in police custody early Friday morning as he awaited a court appearance in Brooklyn. MMA Fighting reported that Cian Cowley, McGregor’s SBG teammate, also was charged with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief over the incident.
McGregor was led out of the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn for a court appearance Friday morning, according to video posted by New York’s WNBC.
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) April 6, 2018
Three matches scheduled for Saturday’s UFC 223 card were scrapped because of the incident, cutting the card to 10 bouts. Chiesa, who was to fight Anthony Pettis, was cut in the face and was in the hospital; he has been deemed unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission and the UFC medical team. Ray Borg, a flyweight who was scheduled to battle Brandon Moreno, also was deemed unfit to fight after suffering corneal abrasions. Artem Lobov, a McGregor friend and ally who was part of the incident, also was pulled from the card.
UFC President Dana White said Friday morning that he had been in contact with McGregor, and that the fighter had attempted to justify his actions :
“Conor and I talked through text yesterday, obviously the worst conversation we have ever had, ” White said during a Friday morning appearance on Fox Sports 1’s “First Things First,” adding that the conversation took place before McGregor turned himself in. “It’s not that I don’t think he understood what happened, it’s just … he justified it, it was justified to him. … [He thought] it had to be done.”
White said McGregor and his crew — “20 hoodlums they flew in from Ireland” — gained access to the arena thanks to “people on the inside” who were covering the event for McGregor’s company. The confrontation came when the McGregor entourage attacked a bus filled with fighters and staffers, including Nurmagomedov, as the bus began to leave Barclays Center following Thursday’s media event.
“These buses are full of a ton of fighters and their cornermen,” White said. “And they’re just throwing things into the windows not caring who they hit. … They hit Mike Chiesa. Mike Chiesa has nothing to do with this. … Many of the fighters and cornermen have nothing to do with this situation.”
In an appearance later Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” White said the incident was not a stunt meant to generate publicity for UFC, which has lost a number of star fighters in recent months to boxing (McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in a lucrative bout last year), pro wrestling (Ronda Rousey) and a combination of wrestling and failed doping tests (Brock Lesnar).
“When Conor found out, he loaded up the plane full of guys from Ireland, flew over here & coordinated this attack.”@DanaWhite explains what lead to the McGregor incident at Barclays pic.twitter.com/7OcYsI1C1B
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) April 6, 2018
“This is the last stunt on Earth we would ever pull. I mean, this is embarrassing for the sport and obviously for the UFC,” White said. “This is the furthest thing from a stunt.”
White added that McGregor won’t be getting any sort of bailout from UFC.
“Normally, yes — I would dive right in and do everything in my power to help one of my guys,” White said on the ESPN show. “But not in this situation. He came into the Barclays Center, attacked our fighters, and attacked my staff with a bunch of guys — no. You don’t get my help on this one.”