UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa was one of several fighters who were injured during Conor McGregor’s wild bus attack just days before UFC 223. “The Notorious” and his band of goons flew to New York City and showed up at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to confront Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Chiesa got caught in the crossfire.
The cuts to Chiesa’s face were so severe that he was pulled from his fight against former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, a win over whom would have placed him right at the top of the division. Chiesa vented on Thursday about the opportunities that McGregor’s antics cost him:
“I don’t really got a lot to say to the guy. I lost a title shot. I have proof. I was the highest-ranked guy on the card. I would have stepped in to fight Khabib at the drop of a dime. I’ve always loved the fight with Khabib. Bless his heart, he’s a cool ass guy. But this is a sport and I’ve always liked the way I matched up against him and I got f*cked out of that opportunity. I don’t really have too many kind things to say to [McGregor]. You work your whole life for those kinds of opportunities. Do I want mine on short order? No, I’d love a training camp. Like I said, if they walk in the door now and say, ‘Hey, do you want to fight for the title in the next 10 minutes?’ I’m out the door, I’m warming up, I’m ready to go.
“To lose the opportunity, that’s tough. You know how this sport works, guys. Opportunities like that don’t come along. I could strike along 15 wins in a row and still not get a title shot and I lost my opportunity and my dream. I hope that I’m gonna fight my ass off to earn it back starting on July 7 against Anthony Pettis. But yeah, tough pill to swallow.”
McGregor was arrested shortly thereafter and was charged with assault. The Irishman has been coming back and forth from court ever since.
Meanwhile, Chiesa will get his chance to take on a former champ in Pettis once again at UFC 226 in July.