Conor McGregor has revealed that he watched the World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, as a guest of Vladimir Putin.
The former UFC double weight champion thanked the Russian president on social media following France's 4-2 win over Croatia, posting a picture alongside Putin who is a judo black belt and a keen fan of martial arts.
McGregor was also photographed at the stadium with Russian Artem Lobov, his long time friend and Straight Blast Gym team mate. The Dublin native is facing felony charges in New York following an altercation earlier this year involving fellow UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, his team, and the bus they were travelling in.
McGregor was reacting to a previous incident during which Nurmagomedov (and his team) cornered and appeared to slap Lobov.
The former featherweight and lightweight champion - holding the two titles at once in November 2016 - described Putin as “one of the greatest leaders of our time”, in an Instagram post on Sunday:
“Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” wrote McGregor, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday. “This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honored to attend such a landmark event alongside him.
“Today was an honor for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup.”
McGregor was stripped of his UFC lightweight belt in April, due to inactivity. Since beating Eddie Alvarez to become a dual weight champion 20 months ago his only fight has been a professional boxing match against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr last August. He lasted 10 rounds in his boxing debut.
It has been speculated that he will next fight Nurmagomedov, the current UFC lightweight champion.