Conor McGregor Has Become a UFC Villain

Conor McGregor poses at the weigh-in before UFC 229.
Photo credit USA Today Sports

Conor McGregor is back in the headlines. Not from an announcement about his next UFC fight. Nope. The 30-year-old Irishman got himself arrested. Again.

McGregror was arrested Monday in Miami and charged with strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief. Police say a fan tried taking a picture of McGregor in the early-morning hours outside a nightclub in the Fontainebleau hotel. McGregor allegedly slapped the phone out of the fan's hand, stomped on it and walked away with the phone, worth roughly $1,000. McGregor was released Monday night on $12,500 bail.

This was not the two-time UFC champion's first run-in with the law. Indeed, since his 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor has been involved in more out-of-the-cage incidents than actual MMA fights. He jumped into the cage during a Bellator fight, was banned from driving in Ireland for six months, took a plea deal for his role in a bus-window-breaking melee inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center, and was suspended for his involvement in a post-fight brawl at UFC 229 (where he lost decisively to Khabib Nurmagomedov).

The latest altercation may not be McGregor's worst or most dangerous offense, but it continues a pattern of poor decision-making by UFC's biggest star. If his popularity and wallet keep growing, what's to discourage him?

UFC can try its best to protect McGregor from himself by booking a fight for the lightweight and getting him back into training mode. There are plenty of fights out there that would provide a challenge and a boatload of cash. It would be a shame for a sport that just started a new era of mainstream exposure with its ESPN broadcast deal to lose McGregor's star power because he's busy getting arrested and jailed.

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