The incident involving Conor McGregor, a hand truck and a UFC van set off all kinds of actions and reactions leading up to UFC 223. Now what? That’s the question confronted by retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes and MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes in this week’s Trading Shots.
Downes: Ben, normally you attribute any anarchy in the sport to your MMA gods seated high atop Mt. Xyience. This week, however, most of the chaos surrounding UFC 223 can be directly attributed to Conor McGregor.
After Khabib Nurmagomedov and his crew confronted McGregor’s teammate, Artem Lobov, in a hotel lobby, McGregor decided to get his gang together and show up in New York. Once there, they (allegedly) trashed the loading dock area of Barclays Center, and McGregor (allegedly) threw the hand truck that will live in infamy.
As a result of his outburst, three separate fights had to be canceled. Normally, this is the part where we expect the fighter to be suspended or cut from the roster. As we have witnessed the last couple years, though, McGregor seems to be immune from any type of consequences. Even if he weren’t, what’s the appropriate punishment here? What leverage does the UFC have over him?
Photos: Conor McGregor's perp walk from Brooklyn jail following UFC 223 incidentview 8 images
Fowlkes: The appropriate punishment is probably a criminal and civil one. McGregor already got arrested and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get sued by multiple people. This isn’t like jumping into the cage at a Bellator event and shoving a few officials around. The punishment here will not be limited to the discretion of the promoters and athletic commissions, both of whom have a financial incentive to get him back to work.
But it is one of those situations that highlights the unequal application of justice in the UFC. Imagine if it was Ray Borg smashing windows on the loading dock. He’d be fired before the glass even got swept up. UFC President Dana White would be out here telling us that this sort of behavior was instant cause for termination, no doubt about it.
He’s not going to do that with McGregor, however, because a) the UFC needs the money he brings in, and b) cutting him would be a gift to competitors, who we both know would show up to McGregor’s next court date with contracts for him to sign.
What I wonder about is some of the mixed messages we’re getting from the UFC. On one hand, there’s White telling us how disgusted he is. There’s Joe Rogan on the UFC 223 broadcast, calling the incident “pathetic.” Clearly, UFC officials are Very Mad that this happened.
And yet, they aren’t mad enough to keep the video to themselves. They aren’t even mad enough to refrain from posting the footage from several different angles, the same way the WWE would do if this were Steve Austin smashing Vince McMahon’s limo on “Raw.”
Is that the UFC playing it straight and giving us the unvarnished truth that had already gotten out anyway? Is it making the best of a bad situation? Is it just Marketing 101?
I think we both know that if the UFC ends up booking McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov somewhere down the road, we’re going to see this footage over and over again in ads for the event. How disgusted can you really be and still put the incident to work for you?
Photos: Conor McGregor's arraignment for UFC 223 bus attackview 11 images
Downes: If you ever think a promoter is playing it straight and giving you the “unvarnished truth,” I have some Reebok kits I’d like to sell you. Of course the UFC is going to be disgusted with McGregor while not taking any substantial action. This is an organization whose president recently claimed can’t afford to pay athletes their full purses for canceled bouts because they’re “not that rich.” If you can say that with a straight face, anything is possible.
I will push back on the criticism of the UFC’s coverage of the great Barclays Brouhaha of 2018, though. What would you rather the company do? Pretend it never happened? What, did you feel like it prevented you from watching even more footage of fighters on treadmills cutting weight?
It was the single most significant event leading up to UFC 223. It was directly responsible for three fights being taken off the card. It’s your responsibility to cover it. If the UFC didn’t mention it all, you’d criticize the company for trying to sweep the thing under the rug.
I saw a number of MMA websites running multiple stories about the incident. Reporters were crowded into a Brooklyn courtroom just to hear McGregor’s arraignment. Are your friends in the so-called media the only ones who are allowed to make the incident “work” for them? Physician heal thyself!
What McGregor did was reckless, irresponsible and stupid. That much is certain. At the same time, we need to cool off on the sanctimony. Like everything involving McGregor, the overreactions are the worst part.
Will you care in a week? Probably not. All the fighters will be rescheduled, McGregor will have his day in court, and life will go on. A few years from now we’ll look at it as just another stop in the fall of the McGregor Empire. Or maybe it’ll be a turning point and he’ll get his act together. Maybe neither.
Remember everyone freaking out after the Diaz brothers and Jason “Mayhem” Miller brawled in Nashville? How about when Paul Daley sucker punched Josh Koschek after the final horn? Everything blew over eventually. How is this any different?
Fowlkes: I’m not saying the UFC should ignore what happened down in the loading docks that day. You’re right, if it got swept under the rug, we’d have plenty to say about that.
But if the UFC is truly so appalled, it has to do something about this. And if the only thing it decides to do is turn the footage into marketing material for a big-money bout down the road, then maybe it wasn’t so appalled.
I’m curious what qualifies as an overreaction in your eyes. What McGregor tried to do was (allegedly) attack one-half of the UFC main event using whatever heavy yet moveable hardware he could find. What he (allegedly) succeeded in doing was injuring a couple fighters who were in no way related to this beef he had with Nurmagomedov, knocking them out of their fights and doing at least some degree of harm to their careers.
And as anyone who saw the footage can tell, it could have been much, much worse.
That’s not the same as some post-fight fisticuffs (for which the participants received fines and suspensions). It’s also not the same as Daley’s attempted sucker punch (which got him banned for life from the UFC).
If this had been a WWE stunt, it’d be pretty cool. You could make sure the van was empty, or at least that all reasonable safety precautions were taken. It’d make for good theater. But this was real and dangerous and dumb and extremely selfish. If your argument is that we shouldn’t “overreact” when it comes to levying consequences, how do you expect him to get the point that he can’t do stuff like this? How do you expect his behavior not to continue escalating, the way it has even in the months since the Bellator incident?
I don’t blame the UFC for working with what it’s given when it comes to promoting fights. But if it doesn’t take some meaningful action to stop this sort of thing then it’s basically admitting that it’s fine with it, as long it’s the right guy throwing the hand truck and only a certain caliber of fighter being showered with glass. Maybe you think that’s a good look for the sport’s foremost fight promoter, but I don’t.
Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.
Source : https://mmajunkie.com/2018/04/trading-shots-what-should-ufc-do-to-conor-mcgregor-bus-attack-brooklyn-dana-whiteThanks you for read my article Conor McGregor UFC News: The Notorious Will NOT Be Sued By Fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz Over Brooklyn Bus Attack