Many fighters have been released from a UFC contract for far less egregious actions than Conor McGregor‘s rampage on April 5 at the UFC 223 Media Day in Brooklyn, N.Y.
After all, UFC president Dana White initially characterized it as, “The most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company.”
Several fighters have been released for violating the UFC’s Code of Conduct policy. And even before that policy was officially in place, Paul Daley was famously expelled from the fight promotion for sucker punching Josh Koscheck following their bout at UFC 113 in May of 2010. Eight years later and Daley has never been invited back to the Octagon.
Conor McGregor’s UFC 223 Rampage
Most of the past incidents that have cost UFC fighters their jobs – even Daley’s abhorrent action – pale in comparison to McGregor’s rampage.
McGregor and a dozen or so other individuals entered Barclays Center, made their way to the loading dock area, and attacked a bus which was loaded with UFC 223 fighters waiting to be transported back to their hotel.
McGregor launched a hand truck through the van’s window, injuring Michael Chiesa, Ray Borg, and at least one UFC employee. Afterward, Chiesa and Borg were deemed medically unfit to fight and had their bouts canceled. The Irishman eventually surrendered to police, but was allowed to post bail and fly back home to Ireland.
McGregor is due back in court in June and still must face the legal consequences for his actions, but the UFC officials have yet to offer much on how they intend to handle the incident. If they were going to cut him loose, however, they likely would have already done so.
Joe Rogan Critical but Understanding of Conor McGregor’s Treatment
UFC commentator Joe Rogan has been critical of McGregor’s treatment since the incident.
“Here’s my thing — switch it around. Imagine if Ray Borg threw that dolly at the bus and Conor was inside. He’d be gone. His career would be over,” Rogan said during a recent episode of his podcast. “That’s one of the more f—ed up things about this is that you know Conor is getting special treatment. He is. That’s not good for anybody.”
Despite his criticism, Rogan understands what is happening. He gets why the biggest fight promotion in mixed martial arts is hesitant to send it’s biggest star packing, despite this not being his first incident of misconduct.
“He just keeps f—ing up with this kind of stuff and no one’s saying, ‘Get rid of him.’” Rogan added this week. “He’s worth so much money. It’s really fascinating. Imagine if Ray Borg and him switched sides. If Ray Borg showed up with all his boys and was screaming and yelling and threw a dolly at the window, it’s a done deal, forever. Think about Paul Daley. Paul Daley must be at home going, ‘Motherf—er! F— Dana White!’
“Until you get to that stratosphere that Conor McGregor (is in)… there’s so much money to be made, that’s the problem. The rules get bent. All Paul Daley did was throw a punch at Josh Kosheck after (the fight). It didn’t even connect. That could have been sorted out.”
Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) led a group of investors that purchased the UFC from the Fertitta Brothers in the summer of 2016 for a reported $4.2 billion. That is certainly putting a lot belief in the value of the company. That is also a lot of spending that needs to be justified.
Cutting loose the biggest star the sport of mixed martial arts has ever seen certainly doesn’t bode well for the bottom line. Wherein lies the issue with disciplining McGregor, regardless the degree of his misconduct.
“There’s a level to the game where you’re so valuable… If Conor McGregor does a pay-per-view fight, especially if they do all that crazy nonsense with Mayweather, if they ever did that, they’re just printing money. It’s so hard for them to not take that money,” said Rogan.
Whether or not they’ll ever be able to again put McGregor on what has become one of the fight promotion’s biggest stages, Madison Square Garden in New York City, is something that Rogan doesn’t think is all that cloudy. In it’s limited history in mixed martial arts, the New York State Athletic Commission has become known as one of the more heavy handed commissions in the country.
Rogan feels that, no matter how the UFC handles the situation, New York is not going to be very lenient when it comes to allowing McGregor to fight again under its jurisdiction.
“I don’t think New York is ever letting that motherf—er fight there again. I just don’t think they’re gonna do that. They don’t play games. That athletic commission is a different commission. They’re new to MMA and that was embarrassing to them. Him throwing the f—ing dolly and the fact that they let him get in there with all his boys, the whole thing was just so thuggish.”