Conor McGregor received a much lighter sentence than rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at Tuesday’s NSAC hearing covering UFC 229, at least in part due to McGregor being under attack during the incident.
The UFC 229 fallout finally came to an end on Tuesday. Following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s settlement agreement being passed, the matter of Conor McGregor’s punishment was next on the agenda with the NSAC. As with Nurmagomedov, a settlement agreement had already been reached, and McGregor did not attend the hearing in person.
In the end, McGregor was handed a six month suspension, making him eligible to return to action on April 6. Additionally, he’ll pay out a $50,000 fine for his actions at UFC 229, which saw him jump on the cage wall to trade blows with Abubakar Nurmagomedov.
The athletic commission went out of its way to call McGregor’s conduct outside the cage into question, including his actions at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. That, in essence, was the press conference that saw McGregor get extremely personal with Nurmagomedov ahead of UFC 229. However, those incidents were outside the NSAC’s jurisdiction, and the commission noted that there was no precedent to fine fighters for words, even though things had clearly gotten out of control by that point.
However, commissioner Anthony Marnell III pointed out of McGregor that “he’s exhausted, he’s done, he’s been submitted. He responds, obviously, to what’s happening. He takes the first swing at Abubakar. At that point they’re both brought down into the cage, and then Abubakar comes at him, and other people are coming from behind him, and he’s just getting hit from everywhere at that point and trying to defend himself.”
“The different choice that he could have made, that no MMA fighter is going to do,” Marnell stated at Tuesday’s meeting, “is just to sit there and not engage. I understand, in the sport, they’re never going to do that.”
On the flip side, “If he would have not done anything, this hearing wouldn’t be taking place.” Still, Marnell stated on the record that “I just want to make that clear, because they [McGregor’s actions versus Khabib’s] are dramatically different, even though the world may see them as one and the same.”
Commissioner Staci Alonsso noted, however, that this was the second time McGregor had been before the commission, the first being the water bottle throwing incident with Nate Diaz. In the end she was the only NSAC member to vote against the McGregor settlement, which passed in a 4-1 vote.