The fallout of Conor McGregor’s highly-publicized incident in the cage at last Friday’s (November 10, 2017) Bellator 187 from Dublin, Ireland, continues to unfold, with “The Notorious” issuing a brief response on Twitter this morning before quickly deleting it.
McGregor revealed the fact that the fight between his teammate Charlie Ward and Irishman John Redmond was potentially going to continue, even though Ward had clearly hurt Redmond significantly at the end of the round, caused him to shove referee Marc Goddard and slap a security guard. It was all-out chaos the likes of which has never been witnessed in an MMA cage involving one of the sport’s biggest stars, and many called it unnecessary and ridiculous.
Yet while many were quick to blast McGregor’s obviously overblown behavior, Andy Ryan, who is Redmond’s head coach, unveiled his belief to MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll that Bellator was also to blame for the melee because they let McGregor run free to get the exposure he brings:
“That’s Conor’s good friend in there that has won, so of course emotions are going to be running high. For me, I think the promotion should have Conor and his guests in a better position. Conor was standing directly behind us. He wasn’t interfering with our cornering or anything like that, but there was no event security around him whatsoever apart from the people that he had with him.
“I think it meant a lot for them to have him at their show, and they didn’t think about what would happen if things boiled over. A fan jumped into the cage during the last fight of the night and the security dealt with the situation straight away. They weren’t treating Conor like anyone else that jumped in the cage and that’s probably why things were able escalate to the level that it did.”
Ryan went on to describe the chaos, the beginning of which he didn’t even see as he was walking towards the cage after hearing the 10-second warning for the round’s end. That’s when Redmond was rocked by a big shot, and Goddard was forced to make the call if he could continue on or not.
As he did, Redmond said the riot-like scene became truly dangerous when McGregor’s fans tried to rush the cage to join him:
“The 10-second warning went off and me and John Donnelly were making our way towards the cage. I didn’t see John (Redmond) getting hit, but then I obviously saw the aftermath. After Conor jumped into the cage, I had to start doing security on the cage door myself because a load of fans were trying to run in with him.
“With all this going on, Marc Goddard hadn’t got a chance to talk to the commission to see what was happening. He had jumped in just before the round ended, and with everything that was going on, he hadn’t got time to establish whether the fight had been brought to an end yet. He was trying to get some order back in the cage and that’s why he said, ‘the fight’s not over, lads, you’re going to have to leave the cage.’ That’s when all the mayhem happened. I think Conor thought the fight was going to continue and that’s when he went over to him and had words.”
Ryan expressed his disappointment with Bellator and the presiding commission because it seemed they were more worried about letting McGregor do what he wanted rather than properly secure the chaos, which clearly caused a dazed Redmond to nearly get run over amidst the riot:
“What annoyed me was, Conor has his own security there, there was event security there, and they didn’t seem to have a grip on the situation at all. John Redmond nearly got trampled on.
“I honestly feel like the promotion and the commission need to take some of the blame here because they were more interested in trying not to upset Conor than looking after John Redmond. John missed out on some attention that he needed because the event security didn’t have a handle on the situation.”
Ryan closed by describing the mark the scuffle had put on Irish mixed martial arts as a whole, something that Bellator didn’t appear concerned for as they only wanted to gain the benefits of McGregor.
With McGregor the only recognizable fighter from the Emerald Isle, the sport is yet to have the proper security measures in place to prevent ‘The Notorious’ from doing something even if he knows he should not. Not much will happen to the UFC champ in his eyes because the promotion wanted an over-the-top moment.
They got it, but it’s not what Irish MMA wanted, according to Ryan. What he does want, even though he acknowledged his fighter was finished, is a rematch between Redmond and Ward to decide a clear victor without all the outside trouble:
“The problem in Ireland is that people only know Conor McGregor and the UFC, they don’t look beyond that and see the amateur scene and the dedicated professionals that are trying to make it to the big stage. I just think the promotions wanted that. They wanted that big WWE scene in the cage. Irish MMA doesn’t want that, but the promotions certainly do.
“I think everyone knows Conor shouldn’t have done what he did, but what can you do? The real problem is that the sport doesn’t have proper recognition in the country so there is no way to put safeguards in place to make sure these things don’t happen.
“I think it’s left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Nobody in Ireland wanted to see this happen, and I know if the two lads went in there again they could show everyone how it was meant to go down. I think they both looked a lot better than they have previously, and I think with all the confusion after the knockdown, it’s probably the right thing to do.”