UFC 229 is not the only McGregor-involved event for which the Nevada State Athletic Commission has had to conduct an investigation.
Back in October 2016, the NSAC fined the “Notorious” MMA superstar $75,000 for his actions during a UFC 202 news conference held in August that year.
NSAC executive director Bob Bennett added that the Irishman will also do an anti-bullying public service announcement for the commission at a value of another 75K dollars.
The fine represented less than 5 percent of the record $3 million purse McGregor received for his majority decision against Nate Diaz on August 20 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The NSAC also ordered 50 hours of community service. The punishment was passed unanimously.
McGregor attended the disciplinary hearing via telephone and admitted his actions during the news conference were “wrong” and that he would “learn from that.” That didn’t mean he was happy with it, as he indicated on Twitter.
I get fined more than these bums get paid
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 10, 2016
When asked by NSAC commissioner Pat Lundvall if he acknowledged a need for discipline on the matter, McGregor responded: “Yes, 100 percent. I acknowledge that.”
McGregor is also responsible for hearing fees. The attorney general’s office initially asked the commission consider a $25,000 fine, however the majority of commission members felt that amount would not have an impact on McGregor.
During fight week of UFC 202 in Las Vegas, McGregor and Diaz gave the event a huge boost by getting into it during a pre-fight news conference August 17. After McGregor showed up 30 minutes late, Diaz elected to get up and leave early. As he exited the theater, Diaz started to taunt McGregor verbally.
Videos show Diaz then throwing a water bottle in McGregor’s direction. McGregor responded by grabbing bottles and cans from the stage and returning fire. Security and UFC officials eventually restored order.
According to the Nevada attorney general’s office, one MGM security officer sustained a minor injury from a can that was thrown by McGregor.
NSAC commissioner Michon Martin said the public safety issue was her biggest concern, as the news conference was open to the public. Martin originally proposed a fine of 10 percent of McGregor’s purse, or $300,000 — which is the percentage the NSAC fined Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier two years ago for a brawl in the MGM Lobby.
Ultimately, that figure was seen as too high. McGregor’s $3 million purse broke the previous record of $2.5 million for a disclosed fight purse in mixed martial arts history.
“I have a really hard time with a $300,000 fine for throwing a water bottle,” said NSAC chairman, Anthony Marnell. “Yes, someone could have gotten seriously hurt. No one did. Yes, they could have set the building on fire. They didn’t. They were throwing cans at each other like children.”
The $50,000 fine for Nate Diaz, McGregor’s opponent in UFC 202, was announced in December 2016. That was similarly 2.5% of his purse.
Previously, in 2015, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Nate’s brother Nick Diaz for five years after a positive marijuana test in connection with his decision loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 183. That suspension was later reduced to 18 months.
Fast forward to October 2018 when UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped over the octagon’s fencing to attack a member of the audience, Dillon Danis, who is also a training partner of the opponent the Dagestani had just beaten during UFC 229’s title fight.
A 10-day suspension is currently in force for both Nurmagomedov and McGregor, with the NSAC expected to offer further information and open hearings on October 24.
Pundits are predicting that a $350K monetary fine and a 15-month suspension will be ordered for the Russian national.