In a shocking turn of events, Conor McGregor, the largest star of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and one of the wealthiest athletes of this generation, has been accused of sexual assault in December or 2019. While he has not yet been charged with a crime, McGregor was arrested in January.
This procedure follows criminal investigation rules for police forces in Ireland and many countries of Europe. After he was arrested in January, McGregor was released from custody following questioning from law enforcement officials. An investigation has thus commenced following his release.
The allegations of sexual assault were made by an unknown woman. Her claim is that McGregor assaulted her at the Beacon Hotel. This hotel is located at the edge of Dublin near a business park. McGregor’s most recent visit to the Beacon Hotel was in December, and he has been known to book its penthouse room. However, there is no known reason for his presence there, given his popularity.
Because of Irish laws, the names of individuals who have been charged with sexual assault or rape are not to be released to the public unless they are convicted. McGregor’s identity as the suspect in the sexual assault case handled by Irish police was likely leaked by an inside source; this source may face certain charges of libel in response to their breaking of the law.
This information was gleaned from an internal memo that was leaked to the public. This memo was a schedule for a morning radio show and claimed that McGregor had turned himself into the police on the evening of January 17th.
The Beacon is close to Crumlin, which is a neighborhood in South Dublin where McGregor grew up. In general, the hotel is known as a residence of white-collar workers, not famed sports stars. There are, however, several hotel employees or long-term guests who claim that McGregor was indeed present before the night of the supposed assault. McGregor apparently booked the hotel’s penthouse for his own purposes.
According to an inside source, evidence surrounding the assault was collected from this penthouse and from the hotel’s cameras.
Because of the laws regarding the naming of suspects in assault cases, the McGregor affair stands in contrast to most cases of this type. He is very wealthy and well-known but is facing less public scrutiny because the police refuse to confirm or deny whether or not McGregor is under suspicion of the assault. As it is unclear whether or not the police believe him to be guilty, the public has yet to definitively side with or against him in this matter. His loyal fan following may play a large role in this delay of judgment.
McGregor represents for many the traditional story of rags-to-riches. He began as a poor mixed martial arts fighter who lived with his mother, only to experience a meteoric ascent to fame and fortune as he became the U.F.C.’s most beloved competitor. McGregor has been known to enjoy the attention and fame and has been active on social media both to grow his fanbase and to boast about his abilities.
Of course, McGregor’s most famous fight was that against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. Although he lost to Mayweather, McGregor was supported by a fan base that seemed to grow with the defeat, as it aided his iconic imagery as an underdog and everyman hero.
However, McGregor has not always had a perfectly positive press. He has already been in the headlines before, such during an incident in July when he pled guilty to charges of disorderly conduct. In this incident, McGregor threw a dolly at a bus during his promotional appearance at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. This act caused the glass to shatter, which injured two additional fighters.
In addition, McGregor was in a brawl in January of 2019 in Nevada. McGregor and Nurmagomedov, whom McGregor lost to in October 2018, fought and were each fined $50,000 and $500,000, respectively, for damages that were sustained during the fight. McGregor was batted from fighting for six months, while Nurmagomedov received a suspension of nine months.
Finally, on March 11th, McGregor found more trouble in Florida’s Miami Beach. McGregor was arrested for charges of robbery and criminal mischief when he stole a cellphone from someone attempting to take the star’s picture. McGregor was released shortly after once he confirmed that he would cooperate with the police.
While no criminal charges have yet been proven, McGregor has announced via Twitter this past Tuesday that he intends to retire from the U.F.C. A spokeswoman for McGregor claimed that it was unrelated to the investigation of the criminal charges. This move has been expected for some time, as McGregor only fought once in October since 2016, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor has announced before that he intended to retire, only to return some weeks or months later. Time will tell if this follows the same pattern, or if he has retired in response to the scrutiny he has received for the sexual assault allegations.
This all followed speculation as to McGregor’s long-term intentions with MMA fighting. He had been relatively inactive for several years and has only ever made brief returns for famous fights or bouts, such as his journey into the boxing scene to challenge Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
Even should McGregor retire from MMA, there has been rampant speculation as to his possible activities afterward. There are many other sports which have potential earnings and fan followings for a talented fighter, particularly one that has not yet reached an age advanced enough to ensure defeat.
Even with his physical health, it may turn out to be that allegations of sexual assault are the straw that will break McGregor’s back. As rumors of misconduct and charges of various minor crimes continue to mount, McGregor may find that the goodwill he earned from his years cultivating an image of a fighter of the people dissipates faster than he may expect.
If the charges against him in this matter are true, McGregor’s career will almost certainly be over.