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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

UFC star Conor McGregor in court after throwing a handcart at a bus full of fighters in New York

McGregor, 29, was freed on US$50,000 bail on Friday after a melee following a promotional event for his Saturday fight

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 3:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 5:13am

Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor is facing criminal charges after a backstage melee on Thursday night injured two fighters and forced the removal of three bouts from UFC’s Saturday night card - which is the biggest of this year.

Video footage shared by TMZ Sports shows the promotion’s most bankable star throwing a hand truck at a bus full of fighters on Thursday after a news conference for UFC 223 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre.

McGregor, 29, who was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, was released on US$50,000 bail on Friday after a court appearance. 

The sport’s best-known athlete and an international star, McGregor appeared before the judge in a blue, long-sleeved golf shirt that hid his elaborate tattoos. He had spent the previous night in custody after surrendering at a police station.

UFC President Dana White said on Friday he spoke to McGregor via text and the brawler said the confrontation “had to be done.”

“It was probably the worst conversation we ever had,” White said. “We talked yesterday before he turned himself in.

“It’s not that I don’t think he understood what happened. He justified it. It was justified to him.”

White said that McGregor, 29, said he was sorry about the fighters who were injured.

Video showed McGregor with a group of people causing chaos on Thursday as they took a lift to the loading dock at Barclays Centre. 

He can apparently be seen tossing trash cans and being prevented from throwing a barricade at a bus during his unannounced appearance in New York.

Michael Chiesa was sent to the hospital with injuries sustained in the attack and was forced out of his scheduled fight against Anthony Pettis.

“A decision was made by the New York State Athletic Commission to pull me from UFC 223,” Chiesa tweeted. 

“I’m devastated to say the least. @showtimepettis I hope to run this match up ASAP. June 9th in your backyard. That’s all I have to say for now. Much love.”

Flyweight Ray Borg suffered multiple cornea abrasions in the wake of the McGregor attack and his fight against Brandon Moreno was also scratched.

“The organisation deems today’s disruption completely unacceptable and is currently working on the consequences that will follow,” UFC said in a statement.

“Individuals involved in the incident are not welcome at tomorrow’s ceremonial weigh-in or Saturday’s event at Barclays Centre.”

Who should Conor McGregor fight in his highly anticipated UFC comeback?

McGregor hasn’t fought for UFC since November 2016 and was stripped this week by UFC President Dana White of the 155-pound championship he had never defended. White also said this week he did not expect McGregor to attend Saturday’s fights.

McGregor profanely responded on Twitter and wrote, “You’ll strip me of nothing.”

McGregor last fought in a boxing match he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jnr on August 26, 2017.

The popular Irishman is close to UFC 223 fighter Artem Lobov, who was involved this week in a scuffle in a hotel with Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

The fight between Max Holloway and Nurmagomedov was cancelled on Friday when Holloway didn’t make weight for the main event, a lightweight championship left vacant by McGregor.

Lobov was yanked from the card and banned from the building.

White said this week in New York that McGregor would fight again for UFC this year. But McGregor’s actions now put future fights in doubt.

McGregor once held the 145- and 155-pound championships at the same time and boldly stated he wanted an ownership stake in UFC.

But the trash-talking egocentric has been out of the fight game except for his boxing dalliance with Mayweather last year that made him wealthy enough to never need to fight again. McGregor and his girlfriend welcomed their first child, a son, in May 2017.