McGre­gor says he re­grets Brook­lyn melee

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY MICHAEL R. SISAK

Mixed mar­tial arts star Conor McGre­gor ex­pressed re­gret Thurs­day for a back­stage melee at a Brook­lyn arena that saw him caught on cam­era hurl­ing a hand truck at a bus full of fighters, and he is ne­go­ti­at­ing a plea deal to re­solve crim­i­nal charges in the case. The Ir­ish brawler, 29, and his friend, fel­low fighter and code­fen­dant Cian Cow­ley, 25, re­mained free on bail af­ter a court ap­pear­ance that went quicker than a typ­i­cal five-minute round in the UFC oc­tagon. They each face up to seven years in prison on a top charge of felony crim­i­nal mis­chief, but a deal would al­most cer­tainly re­duce or elim­i­nate their time be­hind bars. McGre­gor and Cow­ley strode into a packed court­room in tight blue suits, past rows of re­porters and other de­fen­dants who were wait­ing for them to fin­ish up so their cases could be called. The duo stood and said lit­tle dur­ing the ap­pear­ance. Judge Ray­mond Ro­driguez or­dered them to re­turn July 26. “I re­gret my ac­tions that led me here to­day,” McGre­gor said out­side court af­ter­ward, a de­par­ture from his tone in the in­ci­dent’s im­me­di­ate af­ter­math. “I un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness of this mat­ter and I’m hope­ful to get it re­solved soon.” As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Janet Glee­son said the case hasn’t been pre­sented to a grand jury for pos­si­ble in­dict­ment be­cause of the plea ne­go­ti­a­tions, sig­nalling in­ter­est from all sides to re­solve the mat­ter swiftly. McGre­gor cheered Cow­ley as he fought in Belfast on Satur­day and flew with him on a pri­vate jet to the U.S. for the hear­ing. Cow­ley said af­ter the fight that he was hop­ing to get the case “out of the way.” McGre­gor, once the UFC’s si­mul­ta­ne­ous 145- and 155pound cham­pion, hasn’t fought since the fra­cas. The UFC stripped him of its 155-pound cham­pi­onship belt in April be­cause he had not fought in 17 months. Dur­ing that time, McGre­gor turned to box­ing and se­cured a guar­an­teed $30 mil­lion pay­day de­spite los­ing a high­lyan­tic­i­pated bout last year to Floyd May­weather Jr. While the May­weather fight pro­pelled McGre­gor to No. 4 on Forbes’ list of the world’s high­est­paid ath­letes, he lamented on In­sta­gram last week that he would have been No. 2 if his ar­rest hadn’t cost him a shot at fight­ing at UFC 224 on May 12.

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