Mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor has been released on $50,000 bail after appearing in a New York city court charged with assault.
McGregor (29), appeared before a judge at the Kings County Criminal Court on Friday, dressed in a blue, long-sleeved shirt that hid his trademark tattoos. He is charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief.
“He’s the most visible face on the planet; he has no criminal history and the bail package is completely appropriate in the $50,000 amount,” his lawyer Jim Walden told the judge.
McGregor, sporting a beard and a somber expression, stood through the hearing with hands shackled behind his back, saying only a few inaudible words to the lawyer.
The judge also granted a request to allow McGregor travel outside the United States before his next court appearance on June 14th.
The MMA star had surrendered to police on Thursday evening, soon after a video of a melee at a media event to publicise a series of UFC fights at a Brooklyn arena circulated on social media.
The fracas at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center went viral. It appears to show McGregor and his entourage using a metal barricade and other objects to smash windows on a bus filled with fighters departing from the media event.
The fracas appeared to be related to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s decision to strip McGregor of his title. He last fought in a UFC bout in November 2016, when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight belt.
But he never defended the title, though he took on boxer Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. His technical knockout loss to Mayweather was the second biggest pay-per-view fight in history.
In January, the UFC announced that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson would fight for the undisputed lightweight title at Saturday's MMA event, known as UFC 223.
McGregor appeared in court alongside fellow Dublin fighter Cian Cowley, who was released on $25,000 bail for the same offence.
Police earlier said one person had been injured when a bus window was smashed, with the chaotic scenes leading to three fights being cancelled this weekend.
Michael Chiesa, who received "several facial cuts", tweeted to say the New York State Athletic Commission had decided to pull him from his bout against Anthony Pettis.
An Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) statement said a vehicle that contained a number of athletes competing at an event taking place this weekend had been “vandalised”.
“The organisation deems today’s (Thursday’s) disruption completely unacceptable and is currently working on the consequences that will follow.”
UFC later released a statement, confirming Chiesa's injuries, and also said flyweight Ray Borg would not be taking part in his fight against Brandon Moreno due to "multiple cornea abrasions".
“Lightweight Michael Chiesa, who received several facial cuts, was deemed unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission and the UFC medical team, and he was removed from his bout against Anthony Pettis,” it said.
“Flyweight Ray Borg, who was scheduled to face Brandon Moreno, was deemed unfit to fight as well due to multiple cornea abrasions.”
Artem Lobov, who was due to take part in a featherweight bout with Alex Caceres, was also removed from the card due to his "involvement in the incident", UFC said.
In an earlier statement, it said: "The organisation deems today's disruption completely unacceptable and is currently working on the consequences that will follow. Immediately, Lobov has been removed from this weekend's card and individuals involved in the incident are not welcome at tomorrow's ceremonial weigh-in or Saturday's event at Barclays Center."
The scenes were condemned by UFC president Dana White, a long-time advocate of McGregor's, who called the incident "one of the most disgusting things that's happened in the history of the company."
The scenes came at the end of what had already been a rough day for McGregor as he lost his lightweight title.
White revealed at a press conference that McGregor’s 155lb championship will be up for grabs this weekend, with the Irishman having not fought in the Octagon since winning his belt in November 2016.
McGregor initially delivered a brief and to-the-point reaction, saying: “You’s’ll strip me of nothing you’s do nothing c****”.
UFC was founded in 1993 and popularised cage fighting. It holds dozens of fights around the world every year that have surpassed pro wresting and boxing in popularity, and are broadcast in more than 156 nations, reaching 1.1 billion households.
In July 2016, the UFC said it had agreed to be bought by talent agency WME-IMG in a transaction a source valued at $4 billion, one of the largest price tags for a sports brand.
- PA and Reuters