MMA: Conor McGregor charged with assault in New York after rampage

Conor McGregor allegedly attacked a shuttle bus loaded with fellow mixed martial arts fighters.
Conor McGregor allegedly attacked a shuttle bus loaded with fellow mixed martial arts fighters.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Irish Mixed Martial Arts superstar Conor McGregor was charged with assault and criminal mischief by New York police on Friday (April 6), then led out in handcuffs and driven to court.

The 29-year-old fighter was escorted from the Brooklyn police station in jeans, white sneakers and a tight-fitting blue top, before being driven off in the back of a black sedan for his arraignment at a criminal court, also in Brooklyn.

The star was caught on video on Thursday hurling a dolly through a side window of a bus loaded with rival mixed martial arts fighters who were attending a New York media event at the Barclays Center. The bus was moving slowly through the stadium parking lot when the incident occurred.

Police confirmed that McGregor has been charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, and that Cian Cowley, 25, another MMA fighter, has been charged with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief.

Cowley was also to appear before court in Brooklyn on Friday.

Fighter Michael Chiesa, who was on the bus, was taken to hospital following Thursday’s incident and was being treated for cuts to the face, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White said.

“A decision was made by the New York State Athletic Commission to pull me from UFC 223. I’m devastated to say the least,” Chiesa later tweeted.

White said police issued a warrant for the arrest of McGregor, accusing the Irish star and a group of around 20 men of “storming the building.” McGregor, nicknamed “The Notorious,” reportedly surrendered to police late on Thursday.

“They got down to the loading docks where the fighters were getting on the buses and attacked them, throwing trash cans, dollies, things like that,” White said. “Broke one of the windows, cut Michael Chiesa real bad, cut his hand, cut his face.”

White called it “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company,” and said “everyone’s shaken up.”

White warned that McGregor would face likely legal action.

“As you can imagine he’s going to be sued beyond belief,” White said. “This was a real bad career move for him.”

The Irishman reportedly pocketed around US$100 million (S$130 million) for the superfight which he lost last August in Las Vegas against ex-welterweight champion boxer Floyd Mayweather.

Their matchup was one of the richest boxing bouts of all time.

It was not clear what triggered Thursday’s alleged assault but it appeared to be linked in part to the UFC’s decision to strip McGregor of his world title.

McGregor reportedly turned up unannounced at the end of Thursday’s press event to publicize the upcoming UFC 223 card.

On Wednesday, White said the UFC would take back McGregor’s lightweight title, which would be awarded to the winner of Saturday’s UFC 223 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway in New York.

McGregor reacted angrily to the decision on social media. “You’s’ll strip me of nothing,” he tweeted, invoking an expletive.