It’s been a tough 24 hours for UFC president Dana White as he’s been forced to juggle a potentially career-ending freak out by Conor McGregor and the loss of UFC 223’s main event all at the same time. McGregor turned himself into police on Thursday night after he and his entourage threw chairs and barricades at a bus full of UFC fighters, sending several people to the hospital. He’s currently being arraigned on charges of felony mischief and assault.
White did the rounds at FOX Sports to discuss what happened and what McGregor said to him after the incident.
“We talked yesterday before he turned himself in,” White said on First Things First. “It’s not that I don’t think he understood what happened. It’s that he justified it. It was justified to him. ‘Listen, I’m sorry about Mike [Chiesa] and I’m sorry about Rose [Namajunas], and whoever else might have whatever, but this had to be done.'”
White also confirmed the incident was retaliation for a scuffle between Khabib Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s friend Artem Lobov earlier in the week.
“It has nothing to do with him being stripped,” White continued. “Artem Lobov, who is on the undercard, is a very very close friend of Conor McGregor. And he got into an altercation with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team. So when Conor found out about it he loaded up the plane full of guys from Ireland, flew over here, and coordinated this attack on the busses.
“Obviously there’s multiple problems with doing something like this. But the biggest problem in my opinion? Both of these buses are full of fighters and their cornermen. And they’re just throwing things into the windows, not caring who they hit. They hit Michael Chiesa, he had nothing to do with this. Rose Namajunas was right there, she has nothing to do with this. And many of the other fighters and cornermen had nothing to do with this situation. And they didn’t care. They attacked them all.”
When asked whether McGregor would fight in the UFC again, White remained non-committal.
“I honestly don’t know the answer to that question,” he said. “We were working on a new deal and new plan for him all this week, and then he shows up and this happens. We were working on a new deal that was going to pay him ridiculous money. There’s still the talk of the Floyd Mayweather fight [in the UFC] potentially happening, and he’s a sponsor’s dream. I have no explanation for it.”
McGregor is currently awaiting arraignment in New York, where he’ll have a court date and bail set. While jail time is probably not in the cards, there’s a good chance these charges could result in him being barred from entering the United States in the future.