In a career marred with controversies, two-time UFC champion Conor McGregor is back, announcing that he is set to return to the octagon on January 18 to face veteran American Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight bout at UFC 246.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 28, 2019
Despite the hype, his professionalism outside the cage remains a topic that raises eyebrows. The 31-year-old-Irishman hasn’t fought since losing his lightweight title to Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission in October 2018, and ever since, he has had several brushes with the law.
More often than not, he found himself on the wrong side of various controversies.
2014: CALLING DENNIS SIVER A NAZI
Ever since his professional debut in 2013, McGregor has relied on his quick tongue and unending confidence to engage in a war of words with his opponents before a fight. Before UFC Fight Night 59 in Boston, in a now-deleted tweet, he chose to call his German opponent Dennis Siver, a “Nazi”.
After trash-talking about his opponent, calling him “a weird, deformed-looking guy”, McGregor took it too far when he posted a photo of the two facing off with the caption “Kiss my feet Nazi”. After a backlash, McGregor posted a half-hearted apology on Twitter.
2016: “THANKS FOR THE CHEESE”
Just a month after suffering an upset defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 196, McGregor chose to upset the order within the UFC, as the organisation had planned a rematch on July 9, 2016 at UFC 200. In the build-up to the event, McGregor released his now-infamous tweet, announcing his retirement.
I have decided to retire young.
Thanks for the cheese.
Catch ya’s later.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 19, 2016
Although McGregor later backtracked, he was pulled from the event, resulting in the fight getting scratched. According to UFC president Dana White, McGregor refused to attend a press conference in New York and was, therefore, removed from the event.
2016: A PRE-FIGHT MELEE AT UFC 202
The pre-fight press conference for UFC 202 ended with water bottles and cans on the floor, as both Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz’s teams got involved in a brawl. Ever since losing to Diaz, McGregor’s disdain had grown for the American and as Diaz was walking off the stage, the Irishman taunted his team.
“F*** your whole team, you little crackhead esé. You’ll do nothing, You’ll do nothing. Shut your mouth you’ll do f**king nothing, get the f**k out of here.”
Diaz’s entourage started throwing water bottles towards McGregor on the stage. In reply, and despite Dana White’s pleas, McGregor retaliated by throwing cans of energy drinks at them. He was later fined $150,000 and made to do 50 hours of community service by the Nevada State Athletic Commission which was reduced after an appeal.
2017: RACIALLY ABUSING FLOYD MAYWEATHER
Although McGregor lost his only professional boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, the world might remember the spectacle because of its pre-fight drama. But it went a little too far, with Mayweather alleging that the Irishman had made racist comments.
“He totally disrespected black women. He called black people monkeys. Then he spoke disrespectfully to my mother and my daughter. There are certain levels you don’t stoop to and certain levels you just don’t go to,” Mayweather had said.
In response to the allegations, McGregor responded by claiming that it was an attempt by the professional boxer to sway fans towards him. “He’s trying to sway people in his favour and it’s a cheap move. …if he feels it’s disrespectful then he’s an idiot and f*** him as well. It’s a dirty play,” he added.
2017: ASSAULTING REFEREE MARC GODDARD AT BELLATOR 187
At Bellator 187 in his hometown Dublin, McGregor got involved in a scuffle despite being ringside to support teammate Charlie Ward. After Ward dropped his opponent John Redmond in the opening round, McGregor climbed over the cage to celebrate with his teammate thinking the fight was over.
Trying to restore order as he attempted to figure out whether the knockout took place before the bell, referee Marc Goddard separated McGregor and Ward. The irate Irishman didn’t take too kindly to it and pushed the referee during a melee. After being escorted out of the cage, McGregor slapped a commissioner too. He apologised on his Instagram the following day.
2017: ADDRESSING ANDRE FILI WITH A HOMOPHOBIC SLUR
McGregor has often crossed the line when it has come to showing loyalty to his teammates, and it reached a peak when it involved his primary training partner Artem Lobov. At UFC Fight Night 118, after Lobov had lost a featherweight bout to Andre Fili, McGregor was overheard consoling his friend by referring to his opponent with a homophobic slur.
“I thought you were going to sleep him, all I’m saying, he’s a f****t. I never knew he was a f****t.”
Realising his mistake, the Irishman would later go on to apologise on an Irish TV show. “I’m human, I slip up… All I can [do] is hold my hand up and apologise if anyone was offended. I meant no disrespect to [anybody in the] LGBT community,” he had said.
2018: ATTACKING A TEAM BUS WITH A DOLLY
In what is considered to be the lowest point of his career, McGregor disrupted the UFC 223 event by choosing to smash a chartered bus window in which his long-term rival Khabib Nurmagomedov was travelling. McGregor claimed he was responding to Khabib and his teammates ganging up on his teammate, Artem Lobov, before a fight.
In the heat of the moment, McGregor smashed the window of the bus by throwing a dolly at it. He was also later heard trying to goad Khabib into a street fight. Because of the Irishman’s antics, three fights had to be removed from the UFC 223 card. Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg couldn’t compete due to injuries from the broken glass, and Lobov was removed from the card for his participation in the incident.
While he later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to five days of community service, Khabib had the last laugh, succeeding McGregor as lightweight champion.
2019: ASSAULTING CUSTOMER IN DUBLIN BAR
In his hiatus after losing to Khabib at UFC 229, McGregor was convicted of punching a man who refused to take a shot of whiskey from him in a Dublin pub in April. He was even fined 1,000 euros for the incident.
The Dublin’s District Court heard that the former UFC champion had punched a customer, Desmond Keogh, in a Dublin bar after he had twice refused a glass of Proper Twelve whiskey, a brand that the MMA star had founded. McGregor later pleaded guilty and apologised to his victim.