Conor McGregor and his father are fighting back, or at least breaking their silence, after a dizzying stretch of days in which the mixed martial arts star was stripped of his UFC title, attacked a bus bearing UFC fighters, was arrested and then released on bail, and dominated the discussion of a UFC 223 event in which he was not formally involved. The chaos left UFC President Dana White pondering his organization's next move, which just might involve a McGregor fight, this time in an octagon.
McGregor still hasn't talked publicly about the incident, but he ended his social media silence briefly on Monday morning, April 9, Instagramming a photo of himself in New York with only a praying-hands emoji for comment.
His father, Tony, on Sunday posted a photo of him and his son, decked out in formal wear, writing: "DNA, it's who we are."
The social media posts followed a chaotic week in which McGregor threw a hand truck through the window of a bus as he apparently tried to get at rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, who unseated him as lightweight champion after a win at UFC 223 Saturday night. Two fighters on the UFC card were injured in the mayhem Thursday and could not compete, and a third match was scuttled because of the incident. McGregor was arrested and is free on $50,000 bail but faces up to 11 years in prison for two felony charges. (It is unlikely that he will serve any jail time, but that remains to be seen.)
McGregor, who TMZ reported remained in New York on Sunday night, is due in court in New York on June 14, which brings us to the matter of McGregor's future. The MMA star hasn't fought since losing a boxing bout to Floyd Mayweather in August 2017; "I feel that when you have reached such a high status, you have to carry yourself in a classy way," Mayweather said Saturday night during a Showtime interview, referencing the McGregor incident. "Meaning, I know that when we fought, we both sold the fight, the world loved what we did. But outside the ring, you have to carry yourself like a gentleman."
White, meantime, seems to be sending mixed messages about any future UFC events involving McGregor, who has not fought in a UFC event since November 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez. White initially called the incident Thursday "the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company," but he may be mellowing.
The UFC president said that McGregor had texted an apology about injuring the two other fighters, but said, "This had to be done!" On Saturday night, White said he didn't know whether a fight in September is possible. "You can't ask me anything about Conor. I don't know anything about Conor. I haven't thought about it," he told reporters after UFC 223 in Brooklyn's Barclays Center. "There's nothing to think about this week, I think, except for this event."
But he will clearly have to start thinking about one of UFC's biggest stars this week, when things may or may not be quieter.
"I had so many things thrown at me this week," White said Saturday. "To focus on this show was insane. We'll get back and focus on Conor McGregor."
Logically, the events of the weekend might dictate a bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. Nurmagomedov certainly was thinking that way. Part of the bad blood between the two fighters concerns McGregor's friend, UFC fighter Artem Lobov. Nurmagomedov was filmed in a confrontation at a hotel with Lobov earlier last week and Lobov was pulled from his UFC 223 bout.
"Where's Conor? You want to fight this bus?" Nurmagomedov asked after his victory over Al Iaquinta, who was subbing for Mike Chiesa (who was injured in the bus incident). "No more fake champions, no more champion who never defend his title or something like this. Now UFC has champion, and this champion wants to defend his title. You want to fight? Come here. Inside the cage? Come. Outside the cage? Come."
Story by Cindy Boren. Boren arrived at The Post in 2000 as an assignment editor in charge of baseball and NFL/Redskins coverage. She switched to full-time writing, focusing on national sports stories and issues, when she founded The Early Lead blog in 2010.