UFC fighter Conor McGregor faces one count of felony criminal mischief and three counts of assault, a New York Police Department spokesman said early Friday morning, after McGregor created a melee near the loading dock of Barclays Center shortly after UFC 223 media day Thursday.
Cian Cowley, an MMA fighter who trains with McGregor at Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, Ireland, also was charged with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief.
McGregor will be arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court sometime Friday. McGregor had turned himself in to police custody at the 78th precinct late Thursday night.
UFC president Dana White appeared on FS1 and ESPN on Friday morning. He said he texted with McGregor on Thursday evening before he turned himself in to police.
“He was apologetic about the people he wasn’t trying to hurt,” White said on ESPN’s “Get Up!” morning show, “but he felt like the Khabib thing had to be done.”
McGregor’s actions caused three fights to be removed from the card.
Artem Lobov, McGregor’s friend and teammate, was removed from his bout against Alex Caceres because of his role in McGregor’s outburst.
Lobov was shown on video two days ago in a verbal altercation with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was scheduled to fight in Saturday’s main event against Max Holloway for the lightweight title. It is believed McGregor’s antics Thursday were in response to that, and not news of him being stripped of his lightweight title after Nurmagomedov and Holloway fight. Holloway, however, was deemed medically unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission on Friday morning and was pulled from the main event.
“Listen, you don’t like Khabib, and you don’t like what happened or whatever, then fight Khabib,” White said. “You can come in here and do it legally. This fight’s happening Saturday. . . . You could do whatever you want to Khabib within the limits of the rules of fighting. But you want to grab 30 friends and come down here and do what you did today? It’s disgusting.”
A video surfaced on social media hours after Thursday’s event showing McGregor throwing a metal hand cart at a bus, which Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters were on, and shattering a window. That glass caused cuts on the face of lightweight Michael Chiesa. Chiesa can be heard on a video shot from inside the bus saying, “Am I cut bad? I don’t want to touch my face.” He was treated at a nearby hospital and released.
Because of those facial lacerations, he was deemed unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission, and his bout with Anthony Pettis was canceled.
“I’m devastated to say the least,” Chiesa tweeted.
Ray Borg’s flyweight bout against Brandon Moreno has been canceled as well. Borg was seated near the broken window and later went to the hospital to be treated for multiple corneal abrasions, the UFC said.
“The organization deems today’s disruption completely unacceptable and is currently working on the consequences that will follow,” UFC said in a statement late Thursday. “Immediately, Lobov has been removed from this weekend’s card and individuals involved in the incident are not welcome at [Friday’s] ceremonial weigh-in or Saturday’s event at Barclays Center.”
Videos posted on social media show McGregor screaming at the bus. Another video showed McGregor lifting a barricade and running toward the bus before being stopped by a security guard in the loading dock. A video posted showed McGregor and his group fleeing Barclays Center in a black SUV after the melee.
McGregor was not scheduled to appear at the event but showed up storming through the lobby with his entourage shortly after media day ended.
“After this disgusting, despicable move, I think everybody’s relationship with Conor is going to be not so great,” UFC president Dana White said. “This is the type of bad decision you make that turns a lot of people off.”
White said Thursday he found out on Wednesday night that McGregor was in town for the fights. That came after the UFC 223 news conference when he said, as far as he knew then, McGregor wasn’t in New York.
White said McGregor and his group of approximately 20 people were let into the building by two credentialed media members from TheMacLife.com, an MMA website.
White said strawweight champion Rose Namajunas also was on the bus. He said she was not injured but was shaken up by McGregor’s actions.
McGregor’s last UFC fight was in November 2016 when he won the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden. In 2017, he boxed Floyd Mayweather Jr. and lost by TKO in the 10th round.
After White announced Wednesday that McGregor would be stripped of his lightweight title, McGregor responded on social media, “You’ll strip me of nothing.”
This isn’t the first time McGregor has caused a ruckus. Last November, he stormed the cage from the stands after a Bellator MMA fight to celebrate with one of his friends who had just won the fight, then pushed the referee.
“The fight game, mean things are said, people get in each other’s faces, people grab each other and do stuff like that, it’s completely normal,” White said. “We always contain it and handle it, it’s part of the business. But what happened today was criminal, disgusting, despicable, makes me sick. We as an organization need to make sure this never happens again.”