Earlier today (Mon., April 30, 2018), UFC President Dana White spoke up to TMZ Sports about when the UFC would punish Conor McGregor for his recent Brooklyn bus attack which left him incarcerated and awaiting court on assault charges.
McGregor’s pending court date and potential punishment (in addition to any from the UFC, is they do decide to) has the megastar’s fighting future in overall uncertainty, something you probably could have claimed it already was in after his huge payday to box Floyd Mayweather last summer.
The UFC is waiting to see what happens in New York before they decide what to do with McGregor, yet it would seem they’re cooling on punishing him in order to hopefully have his services return before the end of the year.
If and when he does return, there’s a clear megafight between him and current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was the target of his brutal, violent bus attack a day before winning the title over short-notice replacement Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. The bout could arguably be one of if not the biggest MMA bouts of all-time, and there’ve been whispers from McGregor’s team that ‘The Notorious’ wants it to happen in Khabib’s native Russia a lá “Rocky 4.”
A long-off possibility that would undoubtedly put it among the biggest spectacles in MMA history, there’s still a ton of red tape to pass up for the UFC to make their first trip to Russia, so White isn’t all that bullish on putting on Khabib vs. McGregor outside of the UFC’s home base of Vegas.
They’ll go there one day with Nurmagomedov, he said, but it won’t be with McGregor in tow:
“If you do a fight that big, you’ve got to do it in Vegas,” White said. “Khabib will fight in Russia at some point, but it won’t be that fight.”
At this point, there’s no concrete evidence nor confirmation on when McGregor will return to the octagon – or if he ever will – something that could be causing the UFC to forego the logistical nightmare of booking their biggest fight on foreign soil for the time being.
In theory, McGregor could be facing jail time that significantly hinders his ability to fight this year, but in reality, his sheer amount of money coupled with the fact that the Brooklyn incident, although cringe-worthy and horrifying, was his first arrest in the United States. With the high-priced legal counsel he’s almost definitely already assembled, he should ultimately agree to lesser charges and receive a small punishment in court.
That would open the door to him receiving little to no punishment from the UFC in turn, allowing him to conceivably come back and compete in a monster title bout to end the year.
Just don’t count on it being in Russia.