Mc­Gre­gor says he ‘re­grets’ ac­tions at US arena

Irish Examiner - - News - Jonathan Allen

Mixed mar­tial arts fighter Conor Mc­Gre­gor re­turned to court in New York yes­ter­day where he ex­pressed re­gret for his role in a melee at an April event to pub­li­cise a se­ries of Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship fights at a Brooklyn arena.

The 29-year-old for­mer light­weight cham­pion and his co-de­fen­dant and fel­low Ir­ish fighter Cian Cow­ley, 23, were ne­go­ti­at­ing a plea deal over as­sault and crim­i­nal mis­chief charges stem­ming from the fra­cas, pros­e­cu­tors said at a brief hear­ing in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

Judge Ray­mond Ro­driguez ad­journed the case un­til July 26.

Conor Mc­Gre­gor, dressed in a tai­lored dark check suit and striped tie, walked out as pho­tog­ra­phers chased him to a wait­ing ve­hi­cle.

“I re­gret my ac­tions that led me here to­day,” Mc­Gre­gor, one of the sport’s most recog­nis­able stars, told re­porters af­ter­ward.

“I un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness of this mat­ter and I am hope­ful that it gets re­solved soon.”

Video footage of the melee in an un­der­ground park­ing area at the Bar­clays Cen­ter arena ap­pears to show Mc­Gre­gor and his en­tourage us­ing a metal bar­ri­cade and other ob­jects to smash win­dows on a bus filled with fight­ers leav­ing the me­dia event.

One fighter on the bus was hit and cut by a trol­ley thrown through the win­dow, and the cornea of an­other fighter’s eye was cut as the glass shat­tered into dust-like ma­te­rial, ac­cord­ing to the Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship (UFC) fran­chise.

Within hours, Mc­Gre­gor had sur­ren­dered to po­lice. A New York judge re­leased him on $50,000 (€43,000) bail.

At the time, the Dublin­based fighter was an­gered by the UFC’s de­ci­sion to strip him of his ti­tle, ac­cord­ing to an­gry mes­sages he wrote on Twit­ter.

He last fought in a UFC bout in Novem­ber 2016, when he de­feated Ed­die Al­varez at New York’s Madi­son Square Gar­den to win the light­weight belt.

He never de­fended the ti­tle, though he took on boxer Floyd May­weather last Au­gust in a con­ven­tional box­ing match.

His tech­ni­cal knock­out loss to May­weather was the sec­ond big­gest pay-per-view fight in his­tory.

The UFC was founded in 1993 and pop­u­lar­ized cage fight­ing. It holds dozens of fights around the world ev­ery year that have sur­passed pro wrest­ing and box­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, and are broad­cast in more than 156 coun­tries, reach­ing 1.1bn house­holds.

Pic­ture: Mary Altaffer/AP

Mixed mar­tial arts fighter Conor Mc­Gre­gor leaves a Brooklyn Supreme Court in New York. Mc­Gre­gor is in plea ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­solve charges stem­ming from a back­stage melee in April. He re­mains freed on bail and is due back in court on July 26.

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