It’s been exactly one month since former UFC champ Conor McGregor stormed UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, New York and threw a metal dolly through a bus containing current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The attack injured both fighters and employees, resulting in three fights being called off UFC 223 and leading to McGregor’s arrest and detainment on assault charges, for which he’ll next appear in court on June 14.
A clear black eye on the sport of mixed martial arts, the incident was met with the predictable mix of disgust, doubt, and bewilderment after MMA’s biggest star essentially went off the rails to assault a man he could have confronted almost anywhere and injuring innocent bystanders in the process. Indeed, UFC president Dana White derided the attack as the ‘most disgusting thing’ to ever happen in the UFC, but he’s since backtracked on that a bit with it being painfully obvious the UFC needs him to fight, and fight soon.
While it’s not a straightforward approval from White, yet another prominent MMA personality gave some much more forceful support of McGregor.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio (via Bloody Elbow) when former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten stuck up for the Irish star by saying we weren’t his shoes and he simply got caught in the moment:
“We are not in Conor McGregor’s shoes. You know? People can shout what they want, they have no clue what goes on,” Rutten said. “I think once people realize that you have 50 million dollars – he gets mail all day long from people with sick babies and sick kids and my grandma and everybody wants him to give money and so on.
“I mean, he doesn’t only have money, he is super famous on top of that. I know the stupid stuff I did when I was 28 – I didn’t do that, okay, but you know, he has a group around him and he was already angry going in because they wanted to strip him of the title and he’s angry and now the partner, his friends, start saying, ‘hey, maybe we should throw something against them’. Like, ‘yeah,’ everybody starts agreeing. Yeah, you get caught up in the whole moment and you start doing it.”
Maybe being filthy rich isn’t the best excuse for attacking innocent fighters and people trying to make their living, even if others are asking McGregor for money on a regular basis after his monstrous purse to box Floyd Mayweather.
That’s exactly what has left McGregor out of the octagon and causing trouble in public, however, so it would seem the key to redemption for him would simply lie in returning to the octagon and finally fighting for the first time since November 2016. He’s accomplished a ton for the UFC and MMA, that much is true, and Rutten cautioned that even despite the backlash he received online, we should focus on what he’s done rather than his recent mistakes:
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“That’s why I said when I was with Joe Rogan, I said, guys, we should give him a pass. And people online, they were like, is he crazy? I’m not saying that (you excuse everything),” Rutten explained. “I’m saying, yes, he’s going to have to pay for what he did, he goes to court, he has to do all that. I’m not saying that (he doesn’t do those things). Of course, he has to – and I said that on Joe Rogan as well – but give him a pass as a fan. Don’t kick the guy while he’s down. Don’t throw him under the bus. He did so much good for MMA. He just needs to find his way in this world.”
“I hope they just … give him a pass, don’t spit him out yet. Let him see if he cleans up. I mean, you give Jon Jones a lot of passes. And me too, I love Jon Jones, I want to see him back. He’s such a talent that is gone and I want to see him fight. This could be a guy that could literally go undefeated his entire life. So yeah, I would love to see a guy like that back.”