McGregor added that he must get his "head screwed on" and "get back in the game."

By Emily Caron
August 22, 2019

Conor McGregor spoke publicly Thursday evening for the first time since video surfaced that captured the former UFC champion appearing to punch an older man in an Ireland bar in April. In an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor said he was "in the wrong," and added that he needs to get his "head screwed on."

TMZ released a video last week that appeared to show McGregor sucker-punching the man after walking into a Dublin bar and ordering shots of his custom-made whiskey. One elderly male declined multiple offers of the drink which prompted McGregor to punch him in the face. The fighter was immediately escorted out. 

“In reality, it doesn’t matter what happened there,” McGregor said. “I was in the wrong. That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did.”

He continued: “Although—five months ago it was—I tried to make amends. And I made amends back then. Still, that does not even matter. I was in the wrong. I have to realize that’s not the attitude or behavior of a leader, of a martial artist, of a champion. I must get my head screwed on, get back in the game and fight for redemption, retribution, respect, the things that made me the man I am. That’s what I will do.”

McGregor also confirmed that he is not retired and is, instead, looking forward to his next fight. The 31-year-old fighter has a 21–4 career record and had announced his retirement March 26. Later that same day, the New York Times reported he was under investigation in Ireland after a woman accused him of sexual assault.

UFC president Dana White said last week that he has known about the incident since it happened.

"That happened in April. I knew that happened, they just got the video. It's pretty bad," White told CBS Sports' Jim Rome. "Not allegedly, it's pretty's clear. Apparently, this was in a pub in Ireland and it was an argument over whiskey. Conor has a whiskey now and it was an argument over the whiskey and Conor reaches out and hits him with a left hook. I don't know the context of it. I don't know the entire story but he punches a guy, an older man, in the face."

He continued: "When you deal with fighters, there's always something. What's it going to cost Conor before he decides, 'all right, this isn't worth it, enough is enough, I need to stop doing this.' The incident in New York cost him millions. He had to pay the guy with the phone. The list just goes on and on. I just don't know when he wakes up and says, 'I've got to stop doing this.'"

The April incident was the latest McGregor incident brought to public light. McGregor was arrested in March after smashing a fan's phone outside the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami. Miami-Dade prosecutors released the footage Wednesday after charging McGregor with robbery by sudden snatching and criminal mischief.

McGregor last fought in October 2018, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in a fight that ended in a brawl. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended both Nurmagomedov and McGregor last fall during its investigation into the post-fight melee between the two fighters' camps at the conclusion of their bout.

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