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McGregor’s Trial Nears; is Notorious Headed to Jail or Back to the Octagon?

Conor McGregor flexing during a weigh in.
Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor is facing assault charges in Brooklyn this week. Will he ever return to the promotion that made him "notorious"? Photo by Gene Blevins/Icon Sportswire.
  • Conor McGregor’s assault trial, stemming from his bus attack at UFC 223 media day, is on Thursday, June 12th.
  • Is McGregor likely to be found guilty, and would that mean jail time?
  • How would a criminal record impact his UFC future?

Caveat: Sascha Paruk is not a lawyer, but he used to play one in real life. 

Remember when Conor McGregor attacked Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bus at UFC 223 media day?

The internet does …

… and so does New York’s criminal justice system.

McGregor’s actions, which included throwing a large metal gate/barricade through a bus window, resulted in three assault charges and one criminal mischief charge. His trial is set for Thursday, June 12th, in Kings County Criminal Court in Brooklyn, New York.

What’s in store for the brash Irishman, both inside the courtroom and out?

Odds McGregor is convicted or pleads guilty: 1/9

Throwing a gate through a bus window — and injuring at least two people in the process — certainly constitutes assault, and the evidence is pretty damning.

Even if the video is inadmissible, prosecutors will have no shortage of witnesses to call, potentially including both Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa, two fellow mixed martial artists who were injured in the attack and forced out of their matches at UFC 223.

Barring some sort of technical reprieve, McGregor is going to be convicted, whether he puts the state to its burden or pleads guilty to a lesser charge. There goes his dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher.

Odds McGregor goes to jail: 75/1

Stupid and dangerous as McGregor’s antics were, Notorious is not going to land in a prison cell because of this. He’s a first-time offender, no one was seriously injured, and the charges are on the low end of the severity spectrum.

Expect the proverbial slap on the wrist, i.e. some combination of a fine and/or community service.

His victims, however, may be trying to hit McGregor where it really hurts: his wallet. Admittedly not the most credible source, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping claims that Chiesa is “definitely suing” McGregor over the injuries and losses he suffered, to wit, being forced to withdraw from his fight against Anthony Pettis. (Warning: video below contains language that is NSFW.)

Odds McGregor is suspended by the UFC after the trial: 90/1

UFC president Dana White had harsh words for McGregor after the bus attack, calling it “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of this company,” per ESPN, and saying he had no plans to bail out the former two-division champion, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But White didn’t go so far as to suspend the Irishman then, and he won’t be doing so now. McGregor is the biggest name in the sport and, no matter what White says publically, he must still be scratching and clawing to get McGregor back in the octagon.

The parties had basically come to an agreement on a return fight before the incident (McGregor recently acknowledged that he was scheduled to fight at UFC 224 — probably against Rafael Dos Anjos — before “something” kiboshed those plans). Currently, a title fight with Nurmagomedov remains at the top of everyone’s wish list: McGregor, who wants his belt back; White, who would get his biggest PPV event in years; and also Khabib, who would be in line for a career-high payday.

Odds McGregor fights in the UFC in 2018: 1/2

As mentioned above, a McGregor vs Nurmagomedov fight for the lightweight title is something that all interested parties want. The fact that McGregor and the UFC had evidently agreed to terms on a return fight for the former champ is massively encouraging, even if it wasn’t for a fight with Khabib. McGregor’s huge price tag is/was the biggest hurdle in any negotiations.

A criminal record would certainly impact McGregor’s ability to fight in the US — it would likely lead to his visa being revoked — but it would have no effect on him fighting in the UK or Ireland.

The UFC hasn’t put on a numbered event in London since UFC 120 all the way back in 2010. Since that time, the O2 Arena hasn’t hosted anything more than low-grade Fight Nights. While the UFC likes hosting its biggest events in the Pacific or Eastern time zones for obvious PPV viewership reasons, making an exception for McGregor vs Nurmagomedov is sensical. Even if McGregor is allowed to enter the United States, they are both European fighters with massive international appeal.

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