Conor still in a funk over Khabib loss: Stallone

Actor Sylvester Stallone, a UFC minority owner, wants a rematch between Conor McGregor (left) and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Actor Sylvester Stallone, a UFC minority owner, wants a rematch between Conor McGregor (above) and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

LOS ANGELES • Sylvester Stallone has claimed mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Conor McGregor remains "plagued" by his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) defeat by bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Irishman was submitted by the unbeaten Russian at UFC 229 on Oct 6 and the Hollywood actor believes the troubles stem from being "publicly humiliated".

McGregor, 30, was arrested in Miami Beach last week after a fan said the MMA star smashed his smartphone before walking off with the shattered remains, according to police records. He was booked on suspicion of robbery and criminal mischief and later released on a US$12,500 bond (S$16,900).

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Stallone, a minority owner of the UFC, said: "Conor lost last time because he got resentful, got prideful, got arrogant... put his hands down.

"He walked right up to that gentleman and he just got smashed in the face when he could have been defensive. There was no Plan B. Not even a Plan A minus.

"McGregor should tell himself, 'Okay, I've gone through a very rough time. I have to overcome an incredible opponent who seems invulnerable'."

Adding that he would like to see a rematch between the old foes, Stallone said: "This is a crossroad in his life. This is probably the most important one if he doesn't live up to his ideal, if he can't overcome his fear and beat this man."

The Miami incident is the latest in a string of controversies involving McGregor, who was charged in April last year with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after police said he attacked a chartered bus in New York carrying UFC fighters.

He pleaded guilty to a reduced disorderly conduct charge and, as a result, had to serve five days of community service. In January, he was fined US$50,000 and suspended for six months for his role in the mass brawl that followed the end of UFC 229.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2019, with the headline 'Conor still in a funk over Khabib loss: Stallone'. Print Edition | Subscribe