UFC star Conor McGregor called Ali Abdelaziz, the manager of UFC 229 opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov, a "snitch, terrorist rat" in Thursday's open press conference.
Ahead of his return to the Octagon on Saturday following almost two years away, the 30-year-old Irishman also inferred the promoter may have been involvement in the 9/11 attacks (video contains profanity):
"He was pulled off of a flight going from Cairo, Egypt, to New York City on September 11, 2001.
"He was caught with five passports in his possession. He turned informant and turned on the people he was working with. I don't even know how that man is in this f--king country.
"I'm sure everyone here, the Irish people, are facing all this immigration stuff on the way over, my own people are facing it, my family, getting stopped at the airport. And then you've got this man with such a crazy background, Ali Abdelaziz, and he's rocking around free, it begs belief to be honest."
The Washington Post's Des Bieler wrote that McGregor's comments appeared to be in reference to a 2013 book titled "Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden's Final Plot Against America." In it, authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman alleged Abdelaziz worked with the New York Police Department and the FBI before they grew concerned he had become a double agent and tried to deport him.
This isn't the first time McGregor has called Abdelaziz a terrorist, and he previously told ESPN's Ariel Helwani that the words don't concern him or his fighter, Nurmagomedov:
McGregor has previously referred to Abdelaziz as a snitch and questioned his links to Dagestani oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov and Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen dictator, per Mookie Alexander of Bloody Elbow.
Other clients represented by Abdelaziz's management company, Dominance, include middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum, welterweight hopeful Kamaru Usman and featherweight up-and-comer Zabit Magomedsharipov.
In March, investigative MMA journalist Mike Russell reported charges against Abdelaziz from 2000-04:
Mike Russell @MIKERUSSELLMMA
Just got Ali Abdelaziz's rap sheet from 2000-2004. No way NSAC did an FBI fingerprint check on him. Charges include counterfeiting, forgery, criminal impersonation, check & credit card fraud, assault (felony x2, aggravated x1, simple x2) burglary, auto theft, fraud & harassment.
McGregor joked about scheduling his next bout against his representative, per MMA writer Damon Martin:
The Irishman has not fought in the Octagon since November 2016, when he beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title. He was stripped of the belt in April 2018 due to inactivity, allowing Nurmagomedov to win the title days later against Al Iaquinta.