Despite not actually competing in an actual MMA contest thus far in 2017, Conor McGregor has made all kinds of the wrong headlines this year, regardless.
First, his decision to refer to Floyd Mayweather as “boy” caused a racism backlash that was likely little more than an unfortunate choice of words taken out of context by others. Then, just weeks ago he was caught on camera repeatedly using a homophobic slur, something that needs to be wiped out not just by Conor but by the alarming number of fighters who use the phrase to insult rivals seemingly out of habit.
On Friday night in Dublin, however, there were no disclaimers and no additional fighters to share the blame when McGregor stole the headlines from a different MMA promotion entirely.
McGregor was at Bellator 187 in Dublin to watch his friend Charlie Ward take on John Redmond.
Ward knocked out Redmond in the final seconds of the first round, before McGregor jumped into the cage to join in the celebrations.
This clear breach of rules and regulations understandably drew the ire of Marc Goddard, the official for the fight that had just concluded.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) November 10, 2017
Goddard went over and admonished McGregor before going to check on the condition of Redmond on the floor nearby.
Conor then flew off the handle, rushing to shove the referee in a scene which saw him almost land on top of the wounded Redmond.
As McGregor’s entourage, which included UFC lightweight Artem Lobov, piled into the cage the pair were quickly separated, although the Irish superstar then appeared to push Goddard up against the cage as he angrily shouted in his face.
By the time McGregor was escorted out of the cage, the list of his various offences was ridiculously long. Hopping the rail, entering the cage, laying his hands on an official, almost accidentally inflicting more damage upon a hurt and prone peer… it wasn’t McGregor’s finest hour, for sure.
It turned out after word had already spread of his behaviour in Dublin that there was one more act of lunacy from ‘The Notorious’:
Good lord. It gets worse. Conor McGregor seen here slapping an official. https://t.co/Ii7TJNlcPk
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 10, 2017
So, what disciplinary action should/will McGregor face?
UFC President Dana White has set a precedent for this sort of thing, even though having it happen in a rival promotion is pretty unheard of.
Here’s what he said when he cut Jason High for a similar incident three years ago: “I’m going to cut him.
“I look at that the way (Paul) Daley put his hands on his opponent after a fight was over.
“You don’t ever, ever f—ing touch a referee, ever. You’re done here.”
Of course, few will believe that Dana would actually cut his biggest draw and watch him go and make tons of money absolutely anywhere else. Bellator, WWE, even something non-fight sport related. McGregor is a cash cow and White would likely view cutting him as punishing himself for Conor’s actions.
There could also be disciplinary action dished out by MMA governing bodies. McGregor has been fined in the past for unruly behaviour at press conferences. But this is undoubtedly the wildest and most inexcusable of all his antics so far.
It’ll be interesting to hear McGregor’s side eventually, even if the only real acceptable words from the man himself would be a full apology to everyone who was legally inside the cage at Bellator that night.