NEW YORK: Irish Mixed Martial Arts superstar Conor McGregor was released on US$50,000 bail Friday after being hauled before a US judge on assault and criminal charges over a frenzied attack on a bus of rival fighters that injured two athletes.
The 29-year-old, nicknamed “The Notorious,” was filmed lobbing a dolly through a window of the bus in a New York stadium at the end of a media event on Thursday. The bus was moving slowly through the Barclays Center loading dock at the time.
The Irish father-of-one was also captured on surveillance throwing a chair toward a passenger window of the bus and punched a member of a security detail, his Brooklyn arraignment heard Friday.
Two athletes were wounded, forcing them to be pulled from the upcoming UFC 223 card, the Ultimate Fighting Championship confirmed.
Lightweight Michael Chiesa sustained facial cuts and flyweight Ray Borg multiple corneal abrasions.
“I’m devastated to say the least,” tweeted Chiesa.
McGregor spent Thursday night in a Brooklyn police station, after surrendering, and was escorted to a criminal court in handcuffs.
He stood before a judge in jeans, saying nothing except “yes your honor.”
The judge set bail at US$50,000 in a package that allows McGregor to travel without restriction. His next court date was set for June 14.
“He’s the most visible face on the planet. He has no criminal history and the bail package is completely appropriate,” McGregor’s lawyer Jim Walden told the court.
UFC President Dana White told ESPN that no decision would be taken on McGregor’s lucrative UFC career until after this weekend’s fight card, and denied that Thursday’s fracas had been an elaborate publicity stunt.
“Conor is in a lot of trouble. Obviously, the big question everybody’s been asking me is, ‘Are you firing Conor McGregor?'” White told the broadcaster. “This is bigger than Conor McGregor getting fired. There are so many more moving pieces to this thing.”
‘Most disgusting thing ever’
“This is the last stunt on Earth that we’d ever pull,” he said. “This is embarrassing for the sport and obviously for the UFC.”
McGregor was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Fellow MMA fighter Cian Cowley, 25, was hit with one count of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Bail was set for Cowley at US$25,000.
White accused the Irish star and other men of “storming the building” on Thursday.
“They got down to the loading docks where the fighters were getting on the buses and attacked them, throwing trash cans, dollies, things like that,” White said. “Broke one of the windows, cut Michael Chiesa real bad.”
White called it “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company,” and warned that McGregor would likely face legal action.
“As you can imagine, he’s going to be sued beyond belief,” White said.
The Irishman reportedly pocketed around US$100 million for the superfight he lost in August in Las Vegas against ex-welterweight champion boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Their matchup was one of the richest boxing bouts of all time.
It was not clear what triggered Thursday’s alleged assault, but it appeared to be linked in part to the UFC’s decision to strip McGregor of his world title.
McGregor reportedly turned up unannounced at the end of the UFC 223 press event.
On Wednesday, White said the UFC would take back McGregor’s lightweight title, which would be awarded to the winner of Saturday’s UFC 223 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway in New York.
McGregor reacted angrily to the decision on social media. “You’s’ll strip me of nothing,” he tweeted, invoking an expletive.