Conor McGregor expresses ‘regret’ Friday after court hearing; he’ll meet Monday with Dana White


Conor McGregor and UFC president Dana White are overdue for a face-to-face meeting about his future with the company. First, though, McGregor had a court hearing Thursday in Brooklyn, following his April rampage at Barclays Center that resulted in his arrest, as well as the cancellation of three fights on the UFC 223 card.

His appearance Thursday at Brooklyn Criminal Court was less than two minutes. The judge scheduled another court date — July 26 — giving prosecutors and McGregor’s attorneys more time to work out a plea deal. Afterward, McGregor stopped outside the courthouse to issue a short statement. “I regret my actions that led me here today,” he said. “I understand the seriousness of this matter and I am hopeful it gets resolved soon.”

Ahead of UFC 223, McGregor, 29, stormed into the arena with a crew of supporters, and he was charged with three counts of assault and one count of felony criminal mischief after smashing windows on a bus carrying UFC fighters and staff members, resulting in injuries.

Any sort of conviction could potentially affect the immigrant status of the Dublin native in the U.S., further clouding his position in the UFC. As it is, White was clearly angered by the behavior of his biggest star at UFC 223, saying at the time: “This was a real bad career move for him. … I mean, do you want to be in business with Conor McGregor right now?”

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In a video posted Wednesday by TMZ Sports, White said of McGregor, “I know he’s going to court, and that’s all I know. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what Conor has planned. I don’t know what Conor and his team have worked on. Whatever happens tomorrow, I will be as shocked as you.”

In that interview, White said that he and McGregor were set to meet on Monday. The UFC president presumably isn’t counting that as a done deal, though, given that at least two previously stated arrangements to meet with McGregor apparently fell through.

As much as White was irked by the events of April, he is likely very eager to see McGregor, easily his company’s biggest star, finally return to the Octagon. McGregor (21-3) hasn’t had an MMA fight since November 2016, when he defeated Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship, becoming the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two weight classes.

Since then, McGregor’s only action has come in an August boxing match he lost to Floyd Mayweather, and he has been stripped of both his lightweight and featherweight crowns. The lightweight title is now held by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who won it at UFC 223 and, especially as the target of McGregor’s ire in April, is the most obvious opponent for the Irishman, should the latter actually make his return to MMA.

The only thing that currently seems clear about McGregor’s outlook is that he will be back in court next month. He posted a photo Wednesday of himself and fellow Irish MMA fighter Cian Cowley, who joined him in the Barclays Center melee and was also charged, about to board a private jet, presumably to New York.

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“It was nothing,” Cowley said to Metro (U.K.) of the charges he and McGregor are facing. “We’ll just get it out of the way and then get back to work.”

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