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All the Cage: Disturbing allegations leveled at Conor McGregor; Poirier-Ferguson falls apart

·Combat columnist
·6 min read
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A weekly look at MMA’s hottest topics.
A weekly look at MMA’s hottest topics.

The latest allegations against former UFC champion Conor McGregor are disturbing, to say the least. The MMA superstar was arrested and interrogated by French police Saturday on allegations of sexual assault.

Through his manager and a legal spokesperson, McGregor vehemently denied the allegations. A report said he allegedly exposed himself to a woman as she was heading to the restroom in a club.

Assume for a second that we believe the denials and that McGregor did not commit sexual assault. What is still disturbing is that he continually finds himself in these situations.

The New York Times reported on two occasions in 2019 that McGregor was under investigation for sexual assault in Ireland. He’s gotten himself into trouble for punching an elderly man in a bar and breaking a fan’s phone after leaving a nightclub.

He can’t be a hermit and stay in his home by himself all the time, but he needs to quit putting himself into situations where these allegations are made. He was recently engaged and has two young children with fiancee Dee Devlin.

She doesn’t deserve to have to go through this and their kids certainly don’t need to grow up hearing their father is an alleged criminal.

UFC president Dana White said he doesn’t know much about the allegations and said he hasn’t spoken to McGregor. But he tried to explain how popular McGregor is when asked about McGregor finding himself in these kinds of situations.

Conor McGregor speaks during a media event for the UFC 246 mixed martial arts bout, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Las Vegas. McGregor is scheduled to fight Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in a welterweight bout Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Recurring sexual assault allegations against Conor McGregor are a cause for concern. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The insinuation is that there are people who make these allegations in hopes of getting a settlement, knowing how well off McGregor is financially.

“One time, when Conor blew up and Conor was massive, he showed up at the venue with so much security that I was like, ‘This is [expletive] ridiculous. Nobody needs this much security,’” White said. “[I said] this kid’s going to blow all his money just doing security. Then me and Lorenzo [Fertitta, the former UFC CEO] met up with him one night, and holy s---. You just don’t understand how big this kid is until you go out with him. He was literally getting mobbed. People were going crazy, screaming, jumping up from blackjack tables, leaving their money there and running after Conor. It was some crazy s---.

“I never had seen anything like that, and imagine what it’s like with him in Europe. There were old people freaking out when he would walk by. It wasn’t just young people; old people were freaking out, too. That kind of a life, crazy s--- happens when you’re in that type of a lifestyle. You try to go out. You try to act normal. You try to be normal and it’s hard to do sometimes. I’m not defending Conor in any way, shape or form. I don’t know enough about the situation to talk about it at all. But I do know that I have gone out with him before publicly and it’s bats--- nuts.”

It’s probably like it is when LeBron James or Tom Brady or Mike Trout or someone of that ilk is out in public. But you don’t hear those kinds of allegations against them.

This isn’t to allege that McGregor is committing crimes, because I am not. But the frequency of these allegations is disturbing and seems to warrant a closer look by McGregor and his team about how he can venture into public safely.

The best thing, clearly, is if he’s fighting and is active and thus not spending his nights in clubs.

But Team McGregor needs to devise a plan to make sure he’s not in position for these kinds of allegations to be made in the first place.

No Poirier for Ferguson

White had hoped to put together a Tony Ferguson-Dustin Poirier bout for the undercard of UFC 254, which features an interim lightweight title bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje in the main event.

Poirier declined the fight for financial reasons, and White said after the UFC on Vegas 10 show at Apex that the situation is not salvageable and that he’s now looking for a new opponent for Ferguson.

Hopefully White reconsiders because Poirier-Ferguson is a truly great match.

But if he doesn’t, I favor Dan Hooker as Ferguson’s next opponent. Both are coming off losses — Hooker to Poirier and Ferguson to Gaethje — and the fight will have a great deal of significance within the division.

Stylistically it’s a match made in heaven and it shouldn’t be hard to make.

My second choice would be former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, but time is of the essence there. Chandler is a free agent and is shopping himself in search of the best deal. White said Saturday the UFC has spoken with Chandler.

In order to make a Ferguson-Chandler match, the UFC would need to get a deal done with him quickly. If that happens this week, he could be in that mix.

Fitch retires

Congratulations to Jon Fitch on an amazing career. Fitch announced his retirement Saturday following a submission loss to Neiman Gracie at Bellator 246.

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Fitch ended his MMA career with a 32-8-2 record with a no-contest. He lost a bid for the UFC welterweight title to Georges St-Pierre in 2008 at UFC 87, and drew with Rory MacDonald at Bellator 220 last year in a bid for the Bellator welterweight belt.

The fact that he went nearly 11 years between title shots shows how consistently good Fitch was over the years. He won the WSOF welterweight belt in 2016.

He had wins over Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves, Yushin Okami, Jake Shields and Paul Daley.

He always came ready to fight and made the most of what he had. All the best to him in his next career.

Cyborg to defend title

Cris “Cyborg” Justino, who likes to call herself the Grand Slam Champion because of titles in Strikeforce, UFC, Invicta and Bellator, will make the first defense of her Bellator featherweight title on Oct. 15 in the Bellator bubble at Uncasville, Connecticut.

She’ll meet Arlene Blencowe in a bout that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

He said it

“I think [UFC middleweight champion] Israel [Adesanya] can mitigate his power, and what I think will happen is that [Paulo Costa] just doesn’t have enough diversity in his striking to stay with Israel during the fight, to stay on equal part with Israel. If you’re just relying on your power and you have nothing to back that up, there’s nothing behind it, there’s no other plan that you know intimately, then it’s just not gonna be enough, it’s not gonna be diverse enough to keep up with Israel.” — Adesanya coach Eugene Bareman in an interview with Submission Radio about the Adesanya-Costa fight, which is the main event of UFC 253 on Sept. 26 in Abu Dhabi.

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