In a rare act of contrition, the UFC’s lightweight champion Conor McGregor issued a public apology via social media for his questionable actions during Friday’s a Bellator MMA event in Dublin.
McGregor, created a scene at Bellator 187 when he leaped over the cage after his teammate Charlie Ward’s knockout win over John Redmond.
“I sincerely apologize for my behavior at last weekend’s fight event in Dublin,” McGregor posted to Instagram. “While trying to support a loyal teammate and friend, I let my emotions get the best of me and acted out of line. As a multiple weight champion, executive producer, role model and public figure, I must hold myself to a higher standard.”
McGregor explained that he was upset because Goddard didn’t end the fight sooner. McGregor elaborated on that in his Instagram apology, which included some swipes at Goddard.
“The referee Marc Godard was making a horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round. Even against the wishes of the said fighter’s coach. The fight was over,”
“After witnessing my fighter in a fight where the worst happened and the opponent passed away from his injuries on the night, I thought the worst was about to happen again, and I lost it and overreacted. I am sorry to everyone.”
McGregor’s last statement referencing a fight from April 2016 when Ward beat Joao Carvalho by TKO. Two days later, Carvalho underwent emergency brain surgery and died. In the aftermath, referee Mariusz Domasat was heavily criticized for not stopping the fight in time.
But Goddard has defended himself in a lengthy statement of his own and said there was no such mistake made on Friday. If anyone was responsible for endangering the fighters, he wrote in a Facebook post, Tuesday, it was McGregor.
The knockout occurred with one second remaining in the first round. Due to crowd noise, Goddard said there was some confusion over whether the round ended, and he was in the middle of assessing the situation with the timekeeper.
“Once I know that I had stepped across and in between the fighters at 4:59, then the fight is officially over and there is no going back,” Goddard wrote on Facebook. “At this point, it was categorically clear to me that John Redmond was indeed in no state to continue and the rightful winner was Charlie Ward.
“Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place, then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued.”
After a couple of days of downtime and reflection I would like to offer some clarification on the events that unfolded…
Goddard also claimed McGregor threatened him, mentioning a meeting in his hometown of Birmingham, England.
“McGregor’s threats are of no concern to me.”
However Goddard doesn’t believe McGregor should be punished, but it may be too late for that. The head of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, the body overseeing Friday’s Bellator fight, said Monday that UFC executives told him McGregor had already been removed from the fight card at UFC 219. The 29-year-old was expected to make his return to the Octagon at the year-end event for a title unification bout against Tony Ferguson.
McGregor’s apology comes one day after he posted, then deleted, a much different statement. In his initial post, which was quickly removed, McGregor seemed to defend his actions.
“Bloke KO’d on floor bout a minute straight and ref trying to say fight not over Conor. That’s when I lost it,” McGregor wrote. “F— yous all.”
Read McGregor’s entire apology below.
View this post on Instagram
I sincerely apologize for my behavior at last weekends fight event in Dublin. While trying to support a loyal teammate and friend, I let my emotions get the best of me and acted out of line. As a multiple weight UFC champion, executive producer, role model and public figure, I must hold myself to a higher standard. The referee Marc Godard was making a horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round. Even against the wishes of the said fighters coach. The fight was over. After witnessing my fighter in a fight where the worst happened and the opponent passed away from his injuries on the night, I thought the worst was about to happen again, and I lost it and over reacted. I am sorry to everyone. I sincerely apologize to the Director of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli, all the officials and staff working the event, Andy Ryan and his fighter John, two stonch ones that put up a great fight every time. That side will always have my respect, and lastly every one of my fans. I love yous all! I’ve always learned from my mistakes and this will be no different.
He’s come a long way since these days.