Friday 18 October 2019

Senator backtracks on call to ban Conor McGregor's Dublin title fight after fan outcry

Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A FINE Gael senator who sought to ban the Ultimate Fighting Championship from coming to Dublin, describing Mixed Martial Arts as a "vile so-called sport" has backtracked.

Senator Catherine Noone told RTE's Ryan Tubridy show she doesn't want the UFC featherweight decider - which could see local star Conor McGregor challenging for the title in Croke Park or the Aviva Stadium - to be held here.

"I have written to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport seeking his views on allowing this vile so-called sport to be given a platform and an audience here and fully believe that this event should not be licensed," she said, pointing out that New York state has banned the sport.

Senator Noone went on to describe the sport as "ultra-violent" where "gruesome injuries are all-too frequent".

"I don't believe we should be serving as a platform on which to publicise it both nationally and internationally, and therefore I don't think we should be hosting this event here," she said.

After an outcry from UFC fans across the country, Senator Noone admitted on Twitter that she had been hasty: "Hands up - jumped the gun re UFC/MMA - lots of offers of training/education which I'll take up!."

The senator's earlier comments and climb-down come ahead of McGregor and fellow Irish fighter Cathal Pendred preparing for their respective bouts in Boston early on Sunday morning.

A McGregor win could see a potential title fight in Dublin, possibly in Croke Park in front of 80,000 fans - something he has said he is hoping will happen.

Here is some of the reaction Senator Noone's comments on radio stirred up on Twitter:

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