Pre-fight press conference mayhem has become the norm for fight cards featuring UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. He and Nate Diaz were heavily fined for their water bottle throwing incident at UFC 202 in August. On Thursday, UFC president Dana White struggled to maintain control of the UFC 205 press conference at Madison Square Garden when McGregor nearly launched at chair at his opponent, lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
McGregor was fashionably late to the press conference and Alvarez left the stage in protest of his opponent’s tardiness. When McGregor showed up, he snatched the lightweight champion’s belt from the press table. When Alvarez returned to the stage, a brawl nearly erupted.
Luckily, order was restored, but the moment was intense and dangerous. After the situation calmed, McGregor asked the crowd, “I wonder how much a chair would’ve cost me?” According to White, it would have cost the Irishman seven figures.
“Conor was in the middle of saying something, so I was looking at him and the chair went flying behind him. I thought that (Alvarez) threw the chair, but my guy has video footage and we looked at it. He was just fired up and just pushed the chair out of the way, and it just happened to slide across the floor,” explained White during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show.
“Conor picks the chair up over his head like he’s going to throw it at him. And I’m like, ‘Conor, do not throw this chair! Do not throw this chair!’ So I’m trying to stop it. These chairs are like 15 pounds. They’re heavy metal chairs. He could’ve cut his finger. Anything could’ve happened,” continued the UFC president. “I’ve got to get some plastic lawn furniture out there at these press conferences now.”
McGregor was fined $150,000 for the UFC 202 water bottle throwing incident. Had he thrown the chair on Thursday, it would have cost the Irishman a lot more than that, according to White.
“He says to me, ‘What do you think they would’ve charged me for a chair?’ Millions of dollars, I’ll tell you that right now, because the fight probably wouldn’t have happened. This is the first time we’ve been in New York and dealt with the New York State Athletic Commission,” said white.
On Saturday, the fight promotion holds its first event in New York City with a fight card featuring three title fights at the famed Madison Square Garden. McGregor and Alvarez headline the historic event in a lightweight title fight.