Conor McGregor Says He 'Was in the Wrong' for Punching Man in Dublin Bar

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 22, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 06:  Conor McGregor makes a gesture toward Khabib Nurmagomedov before their match in UFC 229 on October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Conor McGregor spoke with ESPN's Ariel Helwani (h/t Marc Raimondi of ESPN) in an exclusive interview that covered an altercation in a Dublin bar in April, his MMA future and other topics.

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. ... I tried to make amends and I made amends back then. But it doesn't matter. I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That's not who I am. That's not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario."

On Aug. 15, TMZ Sports surfaced video of McGregor appearing to punch a man four months prior:

TMZ Sports explained the reported context behind the altercation:

"The absurd attack went down at The Marble Arch Pub in Dublin on April 6. Conor walked in and lined up cups for bar patrons...looking to buy a round of his Proper Twelve for everyone. The problems started when the guy opted out. Conor placed a cup in front of him not once, but twice...and he still refused.

"Unclear if words were exchanged between them, but after Conor downed a shot with the other drinkers, he unexpectedly threw his notorious left fist right in the face of the old man who rejected the booze."

UFC President Dana White offered his take to TMZ Sports, saying that McGregor "can't do" what he did given his high-profile celebrity status.

The man (who has not been identified) spoke with Michael O'Toole of the Irish Daily Star.

"I am sitting on the bar stool just having a quiet pint with my friend then all of a sudden because I refuse his drink I get a punch, you don’t need that in life," he said.

He also called McGregor "a bit of a bully, a bully with money...I'm glad people saw the video. I don't like him."

TMZ Sports noted that authorities haven't pressed charges against McGregor but are still investigating.

"Whatever comes my way, I will face it," McGregor told Helwani. "Whatever comes my way, I deserve it. I will face this head on. I will not hide from it. I was in the wrong. It was completely unacceptable behavior for a man in my position." 

As far as his fighting future goes, McGregor said he's "eager" for an Octagon return, although surgery from a broken left hand suffered in May has impeded that initiative. Per Raimondi, McGregor said a potential July bout versus Justin Gaethje at Madison Square Garden never materialized because of the injury.

McGregor is open to fighting again in 2019, and per Raimondi, he said "it doesn't matter who he faces."

The 31-year-old fighter has a 21-4 lifetime MMA record and held the UFC's featherweight and lightweight championships.

McGregor's last fight occurred in Oct. 2018, when Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated him in a bout for the lightweight belt at UFC 229.

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