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Saturday 17 November 2018

'I regret my actions' - contrite Conor hopes to dodge jail term

MMA fighter Conor McGregor leaves Brooklyn Supreme Court after facing a hearing on assault charges in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
MMA fighter Conor McGregor leaves Brooklyn Supreme Court after facing a hearing on assault charges in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

UFC star Conor McGregor has revealed he "regrets" being involved in a brawl at a UFC media event which led to several other mixed martial arts fighters being injured.

The 29-year-old Crumlin native appeared briefly before a New York court yesterday morning in relation to the incident at the Barclays Centre in the city on April 5.

The court heard that McGregor, along with fellow MMA fighter Cian Cowley (25), had not yet been indicted by a grand jury and that plea negotiations are ongoing.

The matter was adjourned until July 26, when the court proceedings are expected to be finalised.

Serious

Speaking outside the Kings County Courthouse in Brooklyn after the court sitting, McGregor spoke of his regret over the incident and that he was aware of the serious nature of what had happened.

"I regret my actions that led me here today. I understand the seriousness of this matter, and I am hopeful that it gets resolved soon," McGregor told reporters.

He arrived shortly before 10am with an entourage of security, along with Cian Cowley.

The group then walked into the courthouse and into the courtroom, where the hearing lasted all of a minute.

The prosecutor for Kings County, Janet Gleeson, told the court: "There are plea negotiations. The case is back on July 26." A number of orders of protection, issued against McGregor and Cowley in relation to interacting with injured parties or witnesses in the case, also remains in place.

A source close to the case told the Herald that McGregor and Cowley are all but certain to escape a jail term, and will likely face community service as part of the plea deal.

"He's looking good, jail time is unlikely. There may be a community service as part of it, but that's it. In terms of a fine, that will be a civil matter, and if the other fighters injured want to sue him, that's separate," the source said.

The Herald can also reveal that McGregor is planning on staying in New York over the coming days in a luxury five-star hotel, before jetting back to Ireland next week.

The UFC star is staying at the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which overlooks Central Park and where suites cost in excess of $3,300 (€2,844)a night.

Last night, McGregor, his son Conor Jr and partner Dee Devlin, as well as Cowley, left the hotel with a film crew. They had a brief picnic and took a cycle ride around Central Park.

A source also told the Herald that McGregor and his pals had planned to hold a private bash in New York after the court case, but that this had been cancelled.

"They had a dinner planned for last night, but that was called off. It seems he doesn't want to be seen publicly celebrating while the case is still ongoing," the source said.

The ongoing plea negotiations as well as a grand jury having not indicted McGregor and Cowley means that both men are all but certain to avoid serving jail time.

Relieved

Speaking outside the courtroom, McGregor's manager Audie Attar said: "Today we are focusing on the court and we are not going to focus on any future plans until we handle this matter."

Ira Judelson, McGregor and Cowley's bail bondsman, said that the two-time UFC champion seems "more relieved" than when he first appeared in court.

The two MMA athletes presented at the bond office near the court building immediately after their court appearance, where they sign on as part of their bond conditions.

Court documents seen by the Herald show that McGregor is facing 22 counts including menacing with a weapon, criminal mischief and assault.

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