Conor McGregor’s over-the-top swagger disappeared in the Brooklyn courtroom, a place where his previously unchecked behavior confronted the gravity of a legal situation that muted his usual rapid-fire voice to all but three humble words.
“Yes, your honor.”
Did he understand the depth of the criminal charges against him before bailing out for $50,000? Brooklyn Criminal Court Justice Mallafre Melendez posed the question to McGregor on Friday after New York prosecutors went beyond the original counts the New York Police Department listed when first arresting the UFC lightweight champion a day earlier.
Now, Ireland’s McGregor is dealing with two felony charges and 10 misdemeanors related to his leading a gang of associates into Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday to attack a bus loaded with UFC fighters, including Khabib Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten Russian who was favored Saturday night at UFC 223 to take away the belt stripped from McGregor, who hasn’t fought in the UFC since November 2016.
During the fray, McGregor was seen on video picking up and throwing a hand truck at the bus window, forcing two fighters injured by flying glass, lightweight Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg, to bow out of their UFC 223 fights.
The felonies carry a maximum seven years in prison, and the misdemeanors carry a maximum one-year sentence for each.
Such a penalty is not expected given that it’s McGregor’s first offense, and one expert, New York attorney Dmitriy Shakhnevich, said after reviewing the case “it’s … very highly unlikely that he’ll see any jail time at all. He’ll take a plea.”
Saturday, Nurmagomedov (25-0) fought for the lightweight belt against replacement fighter Al Iaquinta of New York in the main event of UFC 223, which ended after this edition’s print deadline.
In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas defended her strawweight belt by unanimous decision in a rematch with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
But McGregor’s clash with the bus became the main event long before Saturday’s card got underway.
UFC President Dana White told ESPN on Friday he was hoping McGregor’s arrival in New York would enthuse the loyal masses pining for his return.
“We were actually working on a deal and a new plan for him,” White said.
Instead, McGregor skipped the chat with White to crash the UFC’s media day event as it ended, engaging in transgressions detailed in five misdemeanor menacing charges, two assault charges for recklessly causing injury, along with counts for reckless endangerment and attempted assault with an intent to cause physical injury charge.
Some McGregor supporters criticized Borg for not fighting, and the recent flyweight title challenger felt compelled on Twitter to answer people he labeled “keyboard gangsters” who expressed doubts about the flying glass that scratched his cornea.
“I came into this sport to make money off winning fights … . I was deemed unfit to compete, so, hey, what do you know? Food was taken off my family’s plate for something out of my control,” Borg said, attaching his medical report.
What McGregor and the UFC will do next is interesting. The speculation is he’ll return to the octagon in December. The UFC has yet to announce any discipline for Thursday’s melee.