Assault charges for Conor

MMA fighter Conor McGregor strutting around in the octagon during happier times. The Irishman, who has not fought in the UFC since November 2016, has cast a shadow over the UFC 223 event in New York today with his actions forcing the cancellation of
MMA fighter Conor McGregor strutting around in the octagon during happier times. The Irishman, who has not fought in the UFC since November 2016, has cast a shadow over the UFC 223 event in New York today with his actions forcing the cancellation of three fights on the card.PHOTO: REUTERS

UFC fighter is taken into custody after being caught on video attacking a bus with a dolly

NEW YORK • Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Conor McGregor was yesterday charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief following an incident at an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) media day to promote today's UFC 223 event.

According to website MMAWeekly.com, the three misdemeanour counts of assault carry a maximum of one year in prison each with a US$1,000 (S$1,318) fine while the felony count of criminal mischief comes with a maximum jail sentence of seven years.

However, because McGregor has no prior criminal record in the United States, it is unlikely that he will be convicted of a felony as a first-time offender.

The Irishman, who earlier turned himself in to the authorities, was seen throwing a dolly at a bus that was ferrying lightweight rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, and other UFC fighters and staff at the Barclays Center on Thursday.

Video footage of the fracas, which caused a "minor injury" to one of the passengers, has since gone viral on social media.

McGregor, accompanied by at least 10 other members of his entourage including team-mate Artem Lobov, entered the Brooklyn arena and was observed to have thrown "various items". They fled before police officers arrived.

Lobov had an altercation with Nurmagomedov in a Brooklyn hotel on Wednesday and it is believed McGregor took offence to that.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN that the injured person was fighter Michael Chiesa, who was left with cuts on his face and was taken to a hospital.

"They stormed the building... and started to attack the buses with trash cans, dollies," White said. "This is the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of this company."

Chiesa and fellow fighter Ray Borg, who suffered an eye injury in the incident, have been withdrawn from the UFC 223 card while White has dropped Lobov for his role in the fracas.

And the event was left in tatters after featherweight champion Max Holloway was yesterday declared "medically unfit" for his main event fight with Nurmagomedov.

In a statement on Thursday, the UFC said McGregor, Lobov and more than a dozen others had "vandalised the vehicle", calling the disruption "completely unacceptable" and they are "working on the consequences that will follow".

McGregor has not fought since August after losing a mega-money boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather and has not stepped foot in the octagon since November 2016.

After White said on Wednesday that McGregor would be stripped of his lightweight belt due to inactivity, he responded with a vulgar tweet. The 29-year-old had been widely expected to make his MMA comeback later this year but that now appears to be in serious jeopardy.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2018, with the headline 'Assault charges for Conor'. Print Edition | Subscribe