In a new interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Conor McGregor has addressed the widely circulated video of him assaulting a man in an Irish pub, and revealed that a hand injury scuttled a July return.
Conor McGregor has decided to go on record and address a recently circulated video of a previously reported assault. The video, which made the rounds prior to UFC 241 over the weekend, show’s McGregor at a pub in Ireland, striking what appears to be an elderly man. Although news first broke months ago, the story seemed to fly under the radar for the most part. At least until video surfaced.
Now, in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor has owned up to his bad behavior, vowing to accept any punishment that comes his way.
“I was in the wrong,” McGregor said (via ESPN). “That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did.”
The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champ added that “I tried to make amends and I made amends back then. But it doesn’t matter. I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That’s not who I am. That’s not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario.”
“Whatever comes my way, I will face it,” McGregor said. “Whatever comes my way, I deserve it. I will face this head on. I will not hide from it. I was in the wrong. It was completely unacceptable behavior for a man in my position.”
McGregor has been no stranger to controversy over the years, and during 2019 alone was involved in both a rape accusation (which ultimately appears to have fizzled) and another assault, in which the UFC star smashed a man’s cell phone in a confrontation. That matter was eventually settled.
In the octagon, the Irishman was last seen in October 2018, losing to Khabib Nurmagomeodv at UFC 229. Following the fight, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the octagon, nearly sparking a riot while attempting to attack McGregor’s corner. McGregor was eventually suspended six months for his part in the chaos that followed. Nurmagomedov remains suspended, but will return to action next month at UFC 242, against interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier.
McGregor also revealed Thursday that he injured his left hand in May in a sparring session, which has delayed his return to competition. “Yesterday I met with the surgeon. He said to me originally September to grapple,” McGregor said. However, some good news, McGregor is now cleared to return to training immediately.
Had it not been for the injury, ‘The Notorious would have already been back, he claimed. “Yes, yes, yes. I was preparing for the end of July at Madison Square Garden. I was eager to get back.”
McGregor said he was good to go, that “I get to these great spots, and then ‘boom!’ a little slip.”
“I’ve got to understand it and take lessons from it and keep going, and not let it happen again,” he added. As for the supposed July date, “I did not mind the opponent. I wanted similarities to Khabib, to prepare for that. Because he does not want the rematch.” However it was not to be. And that’s the craziness of the MMA game.
“Nate was out of the game, and now he’s back and he’s on top,” McGregor observed. “It’s a crazy business.”