LAS VEGAS - Nevada athletic officials on Wednesday significantly reduced the penalty they imposed on UFC star Conor McGregor following a profanity-laced, bottle-throwing fracas with a rival during a pre-fight news conference last year in Las Vegas.
The Nevada Athletic Commission approved an agreement with McGregor that settled on a $25,000 fine, 25 hours of community service and a little over $1,000 for the state's legal costs. The commission had previously penalized McGregor with 50 hours of community service and a $150,000 fine, of which half was meant to go toward an anti-bullying public service announcement.
Commission chairman Anthony Marnell III said he believes the $150,000 penalty was too high, even though he voted to approve it, and denied that McGregor was receiving preferential treatment. That fine, which was recommended by the attorney general's office, was calculated as a percentage of the $3 million that McGregor was paid for his Aug. 20 decision win over Nate Diaz during UFC 202.
"If you go out and look in all of sports for things that get thrown, the fines are not very high for whatever reason," Marnell said after the hearing. "I think that we didn't have any precedence to go on here... Usually, when somebody comes before us with a doping violation, we have a lot of precedent for that. Throwing a Monster can and a water bottle at a press conference, that's a first."
McGregor arrived about half hour late to the Aug. 17 press conference touting the highly anticipated fight, a rematch five months after a bout Diaz won by submission. As McGregor answered questions, Diaz stood up and left the stage. Diaz and McGregor and members of their groups yelled at each other and eventually began hurling water bottles at one other.
A complaint by the Nevada state attorney general's office said a security officer received a minor injury when he was struck by a beverage can.
Diaz paid his $50,000 fine. Marnell said Diaz will be given an opportunity to have his fine reconsidered by the commission and possibly get a reimbursement.
McGregor's attorney, Jennifer Goldstein, said the fine will be paid Wednesday. Her client has six months to complete the community service, which he can carry out anywhere he wants, according to the agreement. Commissioners discussed the possibility of McGregor having anti-bullying conversations with children.
"It's the type of situation that one hopes it had never happened, bu he thinks that the resolution was fair," Goldstein said after the meeting. "I won't purport to speak for him, but I think that his testimony at the last hearing showed that he in fact understands the severity of the impact it had."
McGregor listened to the meeting by phone and did not speak.
After the commission imposed the fine in October, McGregor filed a petition in a Las Vegas court indicating his intention to ask a judge to review the commission's decision. The agreement signed Wednesday bars McGregor and the commission from suing each other in connection with the disciplinary action.
The commission can approve any license applications from McGregor after he pays the fine and attorney's fees, even before he completes the community service.
McGregor has been vocal about his willingness to box against Floyd Mayweather Jr., though both fighters would have to clear a number of hurdles to make it happen. Bookies in this gambling city don't give McGregor much of a chance, with Mayweather being a whopping 25-1 favorite in odds posted at a sports book last month.
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