MMA: McGregor lucky he pulled 'bus attack' stunt in Brooklyn, says UFC veteran Cerrone

MMA figher Connor Mcgregor poses during a weigh-in in Las Vegas, Nevada on Aug 25, 2017.
MMA figher Connor Mcgregor poses during a weigh-in in Las Vegas, Nevada on Aug 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Conor McGregor spent the night in jail for his role in a fracas two days before the UFC 223 event in Brooklyn, New York earlier this month.

He would have suffered a worse fate had he pulled the same stunt in Texas or New Mexico, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.

Cerrone, who had attended a press conference in Brooklyn a day before UFC 223, is in Singapore to promote his upcoming headline fight with Briton Leon Edwards at the UFC Fight Night Singapore event on June 23 at the Indoor Stadium.

The 35-year-old's nickname comes from the fact he literally lives like a cowboy: he resides on a ranch in New Mexico, rears livestock, rides horses and participates in cowboy-mounted shooting competitions.

On the sidelines of a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental on Wednesday (April 25), Cerrone told The Straits Times: "Let me tell ya' something - Singapore is not a gun state, and it's a good thing that (McGregor fracas) didn't happen in a state where people do carry weapons, because it would have ended a lot differently in Texas or New Mexico.

"If I'm sitting on a bus and someone breaks the window, with that gang mentality... I'm pulling my gun! It's going down, for sure.

"I don't know if that was Conor's way of getting back at Khabib (Nurmagomedov) to sell a potential fight in Russia or Ireland, that went really bad, really fast."

 
 

In Brooklyn on April 5, McGregor and about 20 members of his entourage chucked trash cans, chairs, and a dolly at a bus with some fighters inside, shattering a window and injuring fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg.

McGregor was allegedly angered that Russian fighter Nurmagomedov - who headlined UFC 223 - and his team had cornered his close friend Artem Lobov in a hotel corridor earlier in the week.

Either way, Cerrone felt the Irishman's reaction was unwarranted.

"I just don't like that side of the sport... We're not WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) wrestlers, we are the best in the world at what we do," he said, with a shake of the head.

"So why don't you carry yourself in a better manner?

"For example, I should be able to go for lunch right now with Leon, and be cordial. Everything bad he wants to do to me, he can do it in (June).

"I don't understand why you have to hate your opponent."

Edwards was in no mood to be chummy, though, predicting an easy win over Cerrone, who is in a three-way tie for most UFC wins (25) and is looking for a record-setting 26th in two months.

"Cowboy is a good striker, but everyone knows he fights slow," said Edwards, 26.

"I look forward to sprinting out there from the first bell to the last.

"Four or five years ago, I feel he could have competed with me. But not now."

Cerrone, decked out in a Hawaiian floral shirt he bought in Honolulu, responded to every jibe his younger opponent had for him, with a wide grin.

But he later told ST: "I would recommend (to Singaporeans) if they can't make it to the Indoor Stadium on June 23, find a bar, TV, tune into a radio station, whatever they can.

"Because when Cowboy comes all the way to Asia, he's going to kick some ass.

"My style is fast-paced, in-your-face, non-stop... Not not take someone down, lay on them, that sort of boring fight.

"It's going to be exactly what they want to see - I'll be looking for a knockout."