Tuesday 21 November 2017

'He got a bit emotional' - John Kavanagh defends Conor McGregor's actions at Bellator 187

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh has defended his fighter for jumping into the cage at the Bellator 187 event in Dublin last Friday.

The UFC lightweight champion has been on the receiving end of some scathing criticism after he pushed referee Marc Goddard and struck a Bellator employee.

The Crumlin brawler jumped into the cage after SBG teammate Charlie Ward had dropped John Redmond in the first round. Ward began celebrating and McGregor leapt over the cage to join him.

Ward was fighting for the first time since he was dropped by the UFC after back-to-back defeats.

“Charlie is one of Conor’s very close friends and he is coming off two pretty devastating losses. He lost fast and hard in both his UFC fights and was dropped by the UFC, and then he fought at Bellator,” Kavanagh said during an interview with Ireland’s TV3 on Monday evening.

“So, when you are seeing someone who you are that close with, with two bad defeats, and then they have a great victory in front of his hometown crowd – [Conor] got a bit emotional, went a bit over the top, jumped in [to the cage].”

Kavanagh claims that the flashpoints occurred because neither Ward nor McGregor realised that the fight had not been officially ruled over.

“[Conor] didn’t realize that the fight had not actually been called. He thought when [Ward] knocked the guy down it was over, but it was actually just the end of the round – the fight wasn’t over,” Kavanagh added.

“So, the referee was trying to tell him the fight’s not over, but it was pretty obvious that it was over, in [Conor’s] defence. Maybe [he was] a little bit over-emotional there, but you sort of understand when you know his and Charlie’s relationship for the last number of years.”

Ward was eventually declared the winner by first round TKO but not before McGregor had engaged in unacceptable behaviour.

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