Ahead of his day in court on Thursday, here’s everything you need to know about Conor McGregor’s chances following his chaotic appearance at the UFC 223 media day in April.
Two months have passed since Conor McGregor well and truly stole the show in the leadup to UFC 223 during what was one of the most unpredictable and turbulent times for the sport in recent memory.
We all know the story. Khabib Nurmagomedov baited the Irishman by disrespecting his long-time teammate Artem Lobov in a very public setting – something that caused Conor and a group of his friends to crash the UFC’s media day ahead of their event in Brooklyn, New York that Saturday.
And while the intentions were more-than-likely to cut something of a promo that would sell an eventual clash between himself and the unbeaten Russian, McGregor’s antics on the day caused the situation to spiral way out of control.
Now, with his day in court looming, we spoke to Dmitriy Shakhnevich of The Fight Lawyer podcast to get a sense of what to expect from Thursday as a whole.
Dmitriy works as a criminal and civil lawyer in Brooklyn and with his aforementioned podcast, The Fight Lawyer, he delves into topics relating to combat sports, while also bringing his expertise in the field of law to the forefront.
We came to him with several questions relating to the stakes for McGregor come Thursday and from those questions came some fantastic insight into the process and how the best and worse case scenarios might look for the former two-weight world champion.
How serious are the charges levelled against Conor McGregor?DS: The charges are fairly serious. His most serious charge, as far as I understand, is a D Felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison. But that’s upon conviction at trial. This case is very unlikely to go to trial. Thus, my belief is that a plea deal will be worked out to avoid jail time.
And will the fact that he isn’t an American citizen work against him to any extent?DS: It will to the extent that any criminal conviction may have negative immigration consequences. His lawyers must, and I’m sure they will – look out for that. They likely have engaged immigration counsel to specifically advise on those issues.
So will his prospects of getting back into the country be affected for the coming future?DS: If he is convicted at trial or pleads guilty to a crime, they may be affected. Immigration law in this regard is hardly black and white. But his lawyers should try to avoid a criminal conviction and if not, ensure that the criminal conviction on his record has a high chance of not affecting his immigration status.
Even if that is the case, will his chances of fighting in New York be under any real threat?DS: If he’s allowed back into the country, I’m fairly sure NY will be fine with him. He may have an issue with the NYS Athletic Commission, as MMA is new in NY. If the Commission issues are resolved, he should be able to fight.
What are the worst and best case scenarios realistically?DS: The worst case scenario is that he goes to trial, loses and is sentenced to jail time. The best-case scenario is a plea that leaves him without a criminal record, with some combination of monetary penalties, community service and maybe some courses to be taken, such as anger management perhaps.
Are the injuries that both Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg sustained on the day likely to haunt Conor in the future?DS: They are, in the sense that if this case goes to trial, they will be witnesses and may testify against him. If it does not, they can also sue him and try to get money out of him in various forms.
In your opinion, if all goes reasonably well on Thursday, would there be many hurdles in getting him cleared to fight ASAP?
DS: Technically, Thursday is only the beginning of the case. He may take a plea but it is also certainly possible that he will simply be advised as to whether or not he was indicted on the felony charges and the case will continue. So, to the extent that the UFC is not willing to let him fight until the case is resolved, there is no certainty that the case will be resolved on Thursday.