McGregor faces ban for ‘fighting’ official
Conor McGregor faces a hefty ban, a suspension or licence removal after he was embroiled in an altercation with a referee and threw a punch at another official inside the cage at the Bellator MMA 187 event in Dublin on Friday.
The two-weight UFC champion was at the rival fight league event to support team-mate Charlie Ward, who has worked as his bodyguard, as he took on John Redmond.
Because he is not a licensed cornerman, McGregor was not permitted to enter the cage, but during the bout he stood in front of the media seats bellowing instructions to Ward.
As the fight ended in the final seconds of the first round, with Ward knocking out Redmond, McGregor ran from the first row and climbed into the cage to celebrate. Referee Marc Goddard pushed him away, ordering him out of the octagon.
It sparked a melee as McGregor pushed Goddard, shouting and pointing at him before being escorted out. Seconds later, McGregor then ran to the other side of the cage, and climbed onto the top, with a Bellator official attempting to block the Irishman from entering. McGregor threw a left hand at the official, believed to be Bellator logistics chief Michael Johnson, which landed on his face.
Mike Mazzulli, the ad hoc commissioner at the Dublin event and a powerful figure as president of the Association of Boxing Commissions, yesterday stated that McGregor had “assaulted Referee Mark Goddard and a Bellator staff ” and urged the Commissions in the United States to study McGregor’s “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour.”
“The MTDAR [Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation] has been in consultation with the upper management of the UFC regarding Mr. McGregor’s inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour,” he said. “The MTDAR has also contacted members of the Association of Boxing Commissioners that have licensed Mr. McGregor in their jurisdictions to inform them of Mr. McGregor’s behaviour.”
It is the latest drama in which McGregor has seemed unable to control himself. He was fined in Las Vegas last year for throwing a water bottle at a news conference, earning a fine from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
McGregor’s latest behaviour is likely to have serious consequences. Footage of the incident spread quickly on social media, while another video showed McGregor angry at the referee during the fight. There is history between the pair. Goddard reprimanded McGregor during his team-mate Artem Lobov’s fight with Andre Fili in Poland last month.
Goddard, one of the sport’s most experienced and respected officials, said he was “saddened” by Friday’s events.
Yesterday, he tweeted: “I operate with integrity, belief and values. I hold MMA in a deep rooted place in my life and have considered myself most fortunate to have done so for so long.”
McGregor, who six years ago was an apprentice plumber on the dole, has enjoyed a stellar rise, winning both the UFC featherweight and lightweight belts while earning a fortune. It led to a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in August, which he lost, but for which he was reportedly paid around $100 million (£76 million).
Cage brawl: Conor McGregor threw a punch at logistics chief after his friend’s bout in Dublin