Conor McGregor arrested, charged with assault and criminal mischief after ravaging UFC event – Washington Post

Conor McGregor responded to UFC President Dana White’s decision to strip him of his lightweight belt in typically understated fashion: by tweeting an unprintable insult, crashing a pre-fight press event, chucking a barricade and prompting a scene of general mayhem that left at least one fighter injured and organizers stunned. For his trouble, McGregor landed in some.

McGregor turned himself into police and was arrested and charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after his role in Thursday’s fracas that left UFC fighter Michael Chiesa in the hospital with a facial laceration, Reuters reported.

A police spokesperson told the news service that McGregor would be kept in custody until a court hearing Friday morning.

White had told multiple outlets after the episode Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn that a warrant was out for McGregor’s arrest.

White also said that Chiesa, who was scheduled to fight in Saturday’s card, had been cut in the face and was in the hospital, and that Artem Lobov, a McGregor ally who was apparently part of the incident, would be pulled from the card.

In truth, it was unclear whether Thursday’s incident was prompted by White stripping McGregor of his belt, or by previous bad feelings between McGregor’s camp and Khabib Nurmagomedov, scheduled to fight for McGregor’s belt in Saturday’s main event. Nurmagomedov was filmed in a confrontation with Lobov, the McGregor ally, earlier this week.

On Thursday, McGregor and his entourage approached a large vehicle full of fighters that was leaving Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the press event, according to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani and videos posted of the incident. “Chairs were thrown through the van window and one passenger on the van was injured,” Helwani reported, in an apparent reference to Chiesa.

Videos posted to social media show a chaotic scene, with at least one guardrail being flung and general disorder. (A fuller video of the bus incident is here; it contains explicit language.)

“Conor went bananas and put a beating on the van that we were in,” Chiesa’s coach Rick Little told MMAjunkie. “A million security guards had to restrain him. Mike’s cut up now. He’s got marks on him, for sure. I don’t think too serious. Everything happened so fast, it was just like we got jumped.”

Little told the site that his fighter had been cut by shattered glass. And some media members at the arena reported that the target of McGrergor’s ire was apparently Nurmagomedov, who seemed to believe that was the case.

“I am laughing inside,” the Russian told Helwani. “You broke window? Why? Come inside. If you real gangster why don’t you come inside? This is big history gangster place. Brooklyn. You want to talk to me? Send me location. I am going to come. No problem.”

White, meanwhile, called the incident the most despicable thing  in UFC history, according to ESPN’s Okamoto.

“You want to grab 30 [expletive] friends and come down here and do what you did today?” White said in a video posted by Okamoto. “It’s disgusting. And I don’t think anybody is going to be huge Conor McGregor fans after this. I don’t know if he’s on drugs or what his deal is, but to come and do this and act like this?”

Later Thursday night, the UFC issued a statement regarding the incident:

Thursday afternoon, following the UFC 223 media day at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, an incident in the facility injured two athletes on Saturday’s card, forcing them to be pulled from the event.

Lightweight Michael Chiesa, who received several facial cuts, was deemed unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission and the UFC medical team, and he was removed from his bout against Anthony Pettis.

Flyweight Ray Borg, who was scheduled to face Brandon Moreno, was deemed unfit to fight as well due to multiple cornea abrasions.

Also removed from the card was the featherweight bout between Artem Lobov and Alex Caceres due to Lobov’s involvement in the incident.

UFC 223 will proceed as scheduled with 10 bouts.

White’s anger toward longtime UFC moneymaker McGregor seemed genuine, but others quickly pointed out that a McGregor-Nurmagomedov fight might be more lucrative after Thursday’s drama. Daniel Cormier, one of the sport’s stars, tweeted that McGregor should be taken into custody and escorted to the arena Saturday “to make him fight Khabib … That’s true punishment!”

White had announced earlier this week there would be “no interim champ” following Saturday’s scheduled lightweight main event between Max Holloway and Nurmagomedov.

“When this fight is over, champion,” White said at a news conference, gesturing to Nurmagomedov and Holloway. “One of these guys will be the champion.”

This news was not taken well by McGregor, the previous permanent holder of that title.

“You’s’ll strip me of nothing,” he tweeted very early Thursday morning, before calling UFC officials an unprintable word.

McGregor won the lightweight title by defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in a November 2016 bout but stepped away from the octagon to train for last year’s lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. Ferguson stepped in to win an interim lightweight belt in McGregor’s absence, but White said Saturday’s bout between Nurmagomedov and Holloway will decide a new official champion.

“Tony Ferguson isn’t being stripped. The only person here who is losing a belt is Conor. Conor’s losing the belt, these two are fighting for the belt,” White said at the news conference.

“The interim belt that he had, those two [Nurmagomedov and Ferguson] were supposed to fight — doesn’t happen. One of these guys will be the champion. Tony is still the number one contender.”

White insisted that McGregor “is coming back this year, 100 percent,” adding, “We’ll see how this thing plays out [with the lightweight title], and we’ll go from there.”

White later reiterated that stance on Fox Sports’ “UFC Tonight,” saying: “Conor does want to fight. Conor and I have been talking a lot. Conor does want to come back, he does want to fight, so he will fight this year.”

White wasn’t done with his somewhat surprising announcements Wednesday, asserting on “UFC Tonight” that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar also will return to the octagon despite his past issues with failed drug tests.

“Brock Lesnar’s coming back,” White said. “I don’t know when, but yes, he is.”

Lesnar has not fought for White’s company since the infamous UFC 200 in July 2016, when he defeated Mark Hunt but later failed a pair of drug tests, leading to a lawsuit from Hunt. McGregor was supposed to have headlined that card, in a rematch with Nate Diaz, but White pulled the fight after the Irishman refused to break training for some promotional appearances.

A former UFC heavyweight champion and a major box-office draw, Lesnar had retired from MMA in 2011 and has been a pro-wrestling star with the WWE. Having retired again from MMA in February 2017, just weeks after receiving one-year bans from both the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Lesnar presumably would have to serve the remainder of his suspensions before being cleared to compete again for the UFC.

The contract between the 40-year-old Lesnar and the WWE is set to expire shortly after Sunday’s WrestleMania 34, at which he will take on Roman Reigns, and his recent flirtations with White have been viewed by some as simply attempts to gain leverage with the pro wrestling company. According to noted MMA reporter Helwani, though, a “deal is in place” with the UFC and both sides just need to “finalize” it.

With the departure of Ronda Rousey, the inability of Jones to stay clean and McGregor’s lengthy absence, the UFC has lacked major star power over the past year and a half or so, although Georges St-Pierre’s long-awaited comeback has helped. The possible returns of McGregor — especially if he can be matched up with St-Pierre — and Lesnar could be just what the doctor ordered for White and Co., but MMA fans will be forgiven for preferring to believe it when they see it.

Read more from The Post:

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