Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor is negotiating a plea deal with New York prosecutors over assault and criminal mischief charges stemming from a backstage melee that was caught on video in April.
‘I regret my actions that led me here today I understand the seriousness of this matter and I’m hopeful it gets resolved soon,’ McGregor told onlookers as he exited the Brooklyn court on Thursday. ‘Thank you every one.’
If convicted on all charges, McGregor could face seven years in prison, but that possibility is extremely unlikely. He’s due back in court on July 26.
McGregor, who was joined by friend and co-defendant Cian Cowley, appeared in court for less than a minute, according to multiple reports.
Video footage showed McGregor hurling a hand truck at a bus full of fighters after a press conference for UFC 223 at Barclays Center in April.
Fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were injured by shattered glass and unable to compete.
MMA star Conor McGregor speaks after a brief appearance in Brooklyn court on Thursday
McGregor remains out on bail, although his attorneys are negotiating a plea deal
Cowley said on Saturday that he hoped to get the case ‘out of the way.’ He and McGregor have been free on bond. They took a private jet together from Ireland for the hearing.
If McGregor can stay out of trouble, he could take part in a lucrative UFC comeback later this year. That fight would likely be against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was believed to be McGregor’s target during the attack on the bus.
McGregor’s future with the UFC had been thrown into doubt by the affair, which was immediately condemned by UFC President Dana White.
The incident, which led to some injuries and the cancellation of several fights, unfolded in April before UFC 223 after a press conference at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. McGregor and his entourage came in through a side entrance and attacked a van containing a group of other fighters.
Nurmagomedov, a lightweight, was in the van and is believed to have been the target of the McGregor’s rage. The 29-year-old Russian previously had a public confrontation with Artem Lobov, a friend and training partner of McGregor’s who was scratched from his own fight on Saturday because of his involvement in Thursday’s incident.
The footage shows McGregor approaching the bus as it inched towards the truck elevators to exit the building. At one point McGregor could be seen running for a dolly, picking it up and throwing it at the moving vehicle, which suffered a broken window.
Conor McGregor and his crew made their way down to the event level at Barclays Center, where the bus of rival fighters was inching its way towards the vehicle elevator. Upon seeing the bus, McGregor (in black) could be seen running for a dolly, picking it up and throwing it at the moving vehicle, breaking a window and covering the passengers with glass
‘Approximately 20 guys were apparently let in through the doors by the Mac Life guys, who were credentialed here,’ White explained, referencing McGregor’s brand and its employees who allegedly helped the Dublin native and his crew enter Barclays Center.
‘They opened the doors for them, through an entrance, they stormed the building, got down to the loading docks where the fighters were getting on the buses and started to attack the buses, throwing trash cans and dollies and things like that,’ White continued. ‘Broke one of the windows and cut Michael Chiesa real bad. He cut his head and cut his face.
‘[UFC fighter] Rose Namajunas was apparently almost hit. She’s super upset right now… Hurt one of our employees, broke one of our employee’s knuckles.’
Footage from the scene shows McGregor attempting to hurl a guard rail through the window of the van full of fighters before being prevented by security.
The Dubliner can then be seen trying to do the same with a trash can before being thwarted once again.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) currently holds the lightweight title that previously belonged to McGregor after coming away victorious at UFC 223, when he fought Al Iaquinta, who replaced Max Holloway (far right). Nurmagomedov was the target of McGregor’s attack in April
In April, McGregor was charged with three counts of assault and a count of criminal mischief
The confrontation led to several injuries and the cancellation of three of UFC 223’s scheduled bouts.
Lightweight Michael Chiesa suffered a laceration to his face and, as a result, was forced to pull out from the event.
Flyweight Ray Borg was also scratched ahead of his bout with Brandon Moreno due to ‘multiple corneal abrasions’, the UFC said in a statement.
And because the featherweight Lobov was involved in instigating the fracas, his bout with Alex Caceres was also cancelled.
Making matters worse for the UFC, Max Holloway was not medically cleared to fight Nurmagomedov in the main event.
McGregor was scheduled to lose his UFC lightweight belt to the winner of the title bout between Max Holloway and Nurmagomedov.
White previously ruled that McGregor, the first UFC fighter to hold two world titles simultaneously, had to forfeit the lightweight belt to whomever won that fight because the Irishman has not participated in a UFC event since 2016 – nearly a year before his doomed boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August of 2017.
McGregor gave a clumsy reaction to White’s decision on Twitter: ‘You’s’ll strip me of nothing you’s do nothing c****.’
Rose Namajunas (right) was on the bus and left shaken after the attack while Michael Chiesa (left) suffered a laceration to his face after a chair was thrown through the van’s window
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani caught up with Nurmagomedov, who said that he is ‘laughing inside.’
‘You broke window?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘Why? Come inside. If you real gangster why don’t you come inside? This is big history gangster place. Brooklyn. You want to talk to me? Send me location. I am going to come. No problem.’
Nurmagomedov, a front-runner to be McGregor’s next opponent, had a run-in with Lobov earlier that week, threatening him if he ever spoke his name again.
‘Never say my name,’ Nurmagomedov said in a clip that was later posted to YouTube. ‘You got me? I didn’t hear you, motherf*****.’
Lobov is a long-time friend and training partner of McGregor’s and it is likely Thursday’s incident was a response to this altercation.
On Thursday, McGregor traveled to the U.S. to close the book on the matter. He was pictured heading to the Dublin airport and even smiled and pointed at waiting photographers as he carried son Conor Jr into the departures lounge.
Later McGregor posted an image of himself and his son standing on the tarmac in front of his private jet.
McGregor uploaded an image of himself with his son, Conor Jr, posing on the tarmac