Conor McGregor facing charges, Max Holloway out of UFC 223 after wild 24 hours in Brooklyn
Within the same hour that Conor McGregor was emerging handcuffed from the New York Police Department’s Brooklyn precinct, scheduled UFC 223 main-event fighter Max Holloway was ruled out due to the effects of his weight cut.
“Shoot me in the [expletive] head,” UFC President Dana White texted to the Times.
McGregor, the UFC’s lightweight champion from Ireland described by his defense attorney as having “the most visible face on the planet,” followed up his video-recorded Thursday attack on a bus carrying UFC fighters inside Barclays Center by leaving Brooklyn Criminal Court after posting a $50,000 bail.
McGregor pleaded not guilty to one count of felony mischief and three misdemeanor counts of assault and will be free to travel internationally by checking in weekly, according to his bail bondsman, Ira Judelson, with a promise to return to court June 14 for his next hearing.
“He was very thankful he was out,” Judelson said of McGregor, who didn’t speak outside the precinct or court.
The man believed to be the target of McGregor’s wrath, Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0), now will face Long Island’s Al Iaquinta (13-3-1) in Saturday night’s main event — the third opponent the unbeaten lightweight has had to prepare for.
Holloway, the featherweight champ, was a late replacement for injured Tony Ferguson. Iaquinta was actually the second choice to replace Holloway, after former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis missed weight Friday by two-tenths of a pound and was too depleted and cramped to attempt to shed more weight.
While Iaquinta also weighed in over the limit at 155.2 pounds, White said he would consider him the champion if he defeats Nurmagomedov.
McGregor’s heated Thursday arrival at the arena came after he heard his lightweight belt would be stripped because he hasn’t fought in the UFC since November 2016. On top of that, he learned of a confrontation this week between friend and teammate Artem Lobov and Nurmagomedov.
Accompanied by several men including an Irish stablemate who is part of the criminal case, McGregor sought the bus occupied by Nurmagomedov and was seen throwing a hand truck at a passenger window, breaking the glass and injuring two fighters. Lightweight Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg suffered injuries described in court as “bruising, a scratched cornea and cuts to the head and nose,” were briefly hospitalized and later pulled from the UFC 223 card.
There was so much glass inside the bus, one witness told the Times, that Chiesa found bits in his sneakers hours later.
McGregor also was accused by a prosecutor of throwing “a punch at a security guard.”
The toll on the fight card was three bouts canceled, and the organization paid show money — $50,000 in Chiesa’s case — to all but Lobov.
McGregor’s defense attorney, John Arlia, said in court that pinning the blame of the felony count on McGregor for shattering the bus glass is excessive.
After saying this week he was “100 percent” confident McGregor would return to the UFC this year, White has quite a conundrum to navigate as the legal proceedings continue for the sport’s top draw.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire
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