Conor McGregor returns to a Brooklyn court Thursday to confront the two felony counts of criminal mischief and multiple misdemeanors for his April bus attack directed at his replacement as UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While legal experts expect the former two-division UFC champion to ultimately skirt jail time, Thursday’s hearing could mark either the case’s resolution or better reveal how long a haul McGregor is in for.
“Basically on Thursday, Conor is appearing in court to see if he was indicted before the district attorney can proceed to trial,” New York attorney Dmitriy Shakhnevich said. “Everything will go down in court” Thursday.
“If I were a betting man, I’d say that unless some plea will be worked out Thursday, an indictment will probably be filed by the court.”
If McGregor’s attorney strikes a plea-bargain agreement with the D.A. by Thursday — which would likely encompass probation, a fine and/or community service for McGregor — the fighter is likely to be informed that a secret grand jury has been empaneled and has established reasonable cause to justify further hearings.
Disclosure of evidence, follow-up court appearances and even a trial would follow, although the latter seems unlikely given this is McGregor’s first criminal transgression and he has interest to resolve the case soon so he can move forward with his fighting career.
UFC President Dana White did not respond to what his plans for McGregor are in the octagon, saying in a Wednesday morning text message to The Times that “I have no clue. We know nothing about” what will transpire in court Thursday.
A spokeswoman for McGregor’s attorney emailed The Times Wednesday to report, “We will be in court tomorrow and we do not have more information.”
On April 5, McGregor and a crew of associates, including MMA teammate Cian Cowley, went after the bus occupied by Nurmagomedov and others after the Russian had been in a fight-week scuffle with McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov at a Brooklyn hotel.
It also chafed McGregor that the UFC had decided to strip McGregor’s lightweight belt for his inactivity in an octagon since November 2016. The unbeaten Nurmagomedov proceeded two days after the bus attack to defeat replacement foe Al Iaquinta for the belt.
Beyond coordinating the attack, which provoked the felony charges, McGregor threw a hand truck at a bus window that shattered and injured two other UFC fighters who were on the vehicle, readying to depart from the pre-fight news conference at Barclays Center back to the fighter’s hotel.
Due to cuts sustained by the flying glass, flyweight Ray Borg and lightweight Michael Chiesa were too injured to compete on the April 7 UFC 223 card.
The incident was filmed and shown on a UFC pre-fight show.
McGregor spent a night in jail.
McGregor’s UFC layoff involved his August participation in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. that gained McGregor a record purse believed to be $100 million.
The UFC has struggled for pay-per-view buys — as it did Saturday, when an industry official said less than 150,000 purchased the Robert Whittaker-headlined card in Chicago — while the highly popular, animated former champion who has fought from 145 to 170 pounds went skidding off the rails.
UFC attorney Hunter Campbell said listing 150,000 as the number of purchases for Saturday’s event was a “material misrepresentation” of the actual buys and short by “something in excess of six figures,” but declined to provide an actual figure.
McGregor posted a reflective pose of himself on social media a week after the incident that read, “It is only a lesson if you learn from it. I learn every day.”
On Tuesday, McGregor posted another photo of himself, his young son and Cowley preparing to board a jet from Ireland to New York, where he may learn his fate.