Conor McGregor has been dominating MMA headlines recently as he often does. However, it hasn’t exactly been good news. Video recently surfaced of McGregor punching an elderly man after he reportedly refused a shot of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey.
The reactions from the MMA world have been many. First, Dana White weighed in and Jorge Masvidal did as well. McGregor’s hated rival Khabib Nurmagomedov offered his own disgust and surprise. Joe Rogan recently spoke up on the issue as well. Finally, the elderly man whom McGregor punched spoke up on the incident, calling him a ‘bully with money.’
Now, McGregor has finally addressed the issue himself. In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani today (Thurs., August 22, 2019), McGregor called the incident, “like a dagger into my heart.” He came clean about the attack, admitting he was in the wrong:
“I was in the wrong,” McGregor said. “That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did. … I tried to make amends and I made amends back then. But it doesn’t matter. I was in the wrong.”
Apologies To Everyone Involved
McGregor apologized to his family and his martial arts compatriots, adding that wasn’t truly who he was:
“I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me, I owe it to my mother, my father, my family, I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That’s not who I am. That’s not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario.”
Ireland’s national police agency, the Gardai, confirmed with ESPN that they are investigating the incident. The attack took place at The Marble Arch Bar on April 6, 2019. But no matter what potential punishment may arise, McGregor says he will accept it. He again admitted it was wrong, especially from a man in his prominent position:
“Whatever comes my way, I will face it,” McGregor said. “Whatever comes my way, I deserve it. I will face this head on, I will not hide from it. I was in the wrong. It was completely unacceptable behavior for a man in my position.”
A Change In Behavior?
McGregor then dove into what he has to do to avoid these high-profile outbursts, of which he had many of late. He said he needs to remain calm for the many who look up to him:
“I need to just stop reacting to the bait,” McGregor said. “People are trying to bait me into things. Am I the fish or am I the whale? I must be calm, I must be zen. I must lead by example. There’s so many people looking up to me. How can I react in this way? I need to get a hold of this and, like I said, I’m working very hard to do this.”
Won’t Squander It All
McGregor then became incredibly candid by admitting that despite all of his wealth and success, he wouldn’t be able to maintain his current lifestyle without fighting. He didn’t want to become the stereotypical prizefighter who squandered all of the wealth he had amassed:
“So, if I have this opportunity before me, if I don’t execute this and get this right, make this happen for the children of my children’s children, all of my successes, all of everything I’ve achieved will be void, will be meaningless to me,” McGregor said. “I must get this right and I must not go down that path, the written path, the cliché of the fighter that has it all and ruins [it]. I need to be aware of my past, of the past of other individuals, and learn from it and grow and that’s what I’m doing.”
McGregor said all the right words in this interview, that cannot be denied. However, he’s been involved in a growing list of violent outside-the-cage incidents in the past two years. There was his infamous dolly attack before April 2018’s UFC 223, and also the time he allegedly smashed a man’s cell phone in Miami this spring.
He claims that he knows he’s going down the wrong path, but actions speak louder than words.
Will Conor McGregor return to his fan-favorite position of old following this latest incident?