Monday 25 March 2019

Conor McGregor can expect to be 'sued beyond belief'

Conor McGregor stands with his lawyer Jim Walden, right, and John Arlia during his arraignment in Brooklyn federal court. Photo: AP
Conor McGregor stands with his lawyer Jim Walden, right, and John Arlia during his arraignment in Brooklyn federal court. Photo: AP
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

In 2016, as his momentous victory for his world lightweight title sunk in, Conor McGregor took to the stage to address the ecstatic crowd packed into Madison Square Garden.

After picking dozens of fights with people backstage and ridiculing every name on the roster in the run up to the event, he took a deep breath and paused for thought.

"I'd like to take this chance to apologise," he said, "….to absolutely nobody. The double champ does what the f*** he wants!"

His fans went wild. The two-fingered statement spawned T-shirts and a remixed music hit.

Fast-forward two years and the fighter seems to have developed a conscience.

The Crumlin man is facing up to 11 years in prison for two felony charges. He has been charged with several misdemeanours, including 13 counts of menacing, four counts of assault (recklessly cause physical injury to another person), one count of attempted assault with intent to cause physical injury, and one count of reckless endangerment. He has emerged from under the mess to apologise to some people caught in the melee and one person in particular: Rose Namajunas.

Rose Namajunas was caught up in the incident. Photo: Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock
Rose Namajunas was caught up in the incident. Photo: Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock

The female UFC fighter was one of several people on a bus that came under fire from projectiles launched by McGregor and several of his colleagues.

Read more: Ewan MacKenna on Conor McGregor: Was behaviour depressingly real - or a stunt that got out of control? 

Read more: 'Smash the windows!' - New footage captures stunned reaction of injured UFC fighters as Conor McGregor trashes bus 

Namajunas was sitting a row back from the window that was smashed when McGregor tossed a hand trolley through it. She appeared in one of the more disturbing images looking distraught with her hood up, clearly shaken by the incident.

She can be seen telling those around her that she is okay as she looks down at the shattered glass around her feet.

Another bus was arranged to get the fighters back to their hotels safely but the female fighter opted to steer clear and walk with her partner the rest of the way home. UFC president Dana White is said to have visited her later that day to check on her.

There were fears that events had shaken the woman so much that she would not be able to defend her straw-weight title. She later told officials she would still take on the challenge.

White later revealed McGregor had reached out to the fighter to apologise. It is not clear whether she responded to him. White said that McGregor apologised for their injuries and distress, but not for what he did.

He said that McGregor texted him: "'I'm sorry about Mike, and I'm sorry about Rose, and whoever else, but this had to be done!'"

Meanwhile, McGregor has potentially left himself open to millions of dollars in compensation claims and White has publicly slammed McGregor's behaviour.

"This is the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company," Dana White said.

"You can imagine he's going to be sued beyond belief and this was a real bad career move for him."

During the court hearing in Brooklyn, McGregor's fellow Irish MMA fighter Cian Cowley (25) was hit with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Bail was set for Cowley at $25,000.

Judge Connie Melendez also issued protection orders against both men, instructing them to stay away from a number of named individuals.

Details of the allegations against the men were read out during the proceedings by a lawyer representing the state who stated: "As to defendant McGregor, judge, he was captured on video surveillance picking up a chair and throwing it to a passenger window of that bus, causing injuries to several individuals inside the bus. I would note, judge, that the one of two individuals that sustained injuries sustained bruising and swelling to the cheek, corneal abrasion."

McGregor's attorney, Jim Walden, asked the judge to allow his client to travel and "pursue his craft".

Mr Walden said: "We've agreed to a bail package so they can travel internationally so they can pursue their sport and their craft. Suffice to say, your honour, that my client self-surrendered. When asked first time by the New York City Police Department to have his friend surrender, he directed his friend, Cowley, to surrender.

"He's the most visible face on the planet, he has no criminal history and the bail package is completely appropriate," Mr Walden added.

Last night, McGregor was still in New York after the judge set bail at $50,000. His next court date is June 14.

Sunday Independent

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