UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor notoriously showed up late to a UFC 202 pre-fight press conference, lost his temper at Nate Diaz leaving early, and started throwing energy drinks. Today he had to answer for his antics in an appearance before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
McGregor was represented by legal counsel, and appeared by telephone.
“I was very, very upset at the incident,” said McGregor. “It was a high stakes fight, my emotions got the better of me. All I can say is I’m sorry.”
The UFC featherweight champion then told Pat Lundvall he would accept whatever punishment the NAC meted out. Given that the NAC tried to suspend Nick Diaz for five years over legally prescribed use of the demon week marijuana, that might not be the most thought-through thing McGregor could have said.
However, the fighter potentially faced suspension, so the punishment could have been much worse – McGregor will have to do 50 hours of community service, and was fined 5% of his purse.
Bad news is that 5% comes to $150,000. Good news is the $3,000,000 that McGregor was contracted to make was just a fraction of what he made as a percentage of the PPV. His compensation may have totaled over $10,000,000 for the event, making the 150k perhaps 1.5% of his take.
The attorney general had recommended a more lenient $25,000 fine, plus 25 hours community service, plus five hours media training. The NSAC however must have felt that was an insufficient deterrent to future shenanigans.
The other high profile pre-fight media incident the NSAC had to deal with in the past few years was the shoving match between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier back in 2014. That ended with Jones fined 10% of his purse ($50,000) and 40 hours of community service. Cormier got 10% of purse ($9,000) and 20 hours.
McGregor responded in typical fashion, taunting the entire division.
The fighter’s next stop is UFC 205, where he challenges lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for his belt. If successful, McGregor will become the first fighter to hold two UFC belts at the same time. And given how effective pre-fight tussles appear to be in building PPV buys, don’t be shocked if something similar happens again.