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- UFC boss Dana White and his fighter Conor McGregor exchanged messages after McGregor went off the rails at an event on Thursday.
- McGregor attacked a UFC bus, threw a guard rail and started a confrontation which ended in two injuries.
- White said McGregor told him the “had to be done” before he turned himself in to police.
- He has been charged with three counts of assault and one of criminal mischief.
- White says McGregor is guilty of “completely irrational behaviour.”
Conor McGregor believes he was justified in starting a wild fight that ended with him being charged with assault, according to the most senior official in his sport.
UFC president Dana White said he had spoken with McGregor via text just before the Irish fighter turned himself in to police.
Speaking on Fox Sports 1 show “First Things First,” White claimed McGregor told him: “This had to be done.”
The incident saw him storm a UFC press conference on Thursday night, throw guard rails at a bus carrying UFC fighters, and smash the window of a bus with a metal trolley. Two athletes were injured in the incident.
The NYPD charged him with three counts of assault and one of criminal mischief early on Friday morning.
White said: “Conor and I talked through texts yesterday, it was the worst conversation we ever had. We talked before he turned himself in. I don’t believe he [understood what happened] but he justified it, it was justified to him.”
The attack left two fighters – Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg – requiring medical treatment. Borg suffered an eye injury from shattered glass, while Chiesa suffered multiple cuts to the face, according to MMAFighting journalist Ariel Helwani.
White said McGregor told him he was “sorry” about Chiesa and sorry about Rose Namajunas, the women’s strawweight champion who was upset over the ordeal, but stressed that the attack “had to be done.”
Watch part of White’s interview on “First Things First” below.
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) April 6, 2018
White said the attack was retaliation for the way Khabib Nurmagomedov treated Artem Lobov, McGregor’s teammate, earlier this week.
Both Nurmagomedov and Lobov were scheduled to compete in separate fights at UFC 223, a major pay-per-view event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov and Lobov had an altercation at a hotel on Tuesday. In video captured by MMA Focus Nurmagomedov and members of his team appeared to corner Lobov – and slap him:
Lobov is a Straight Blast Gym teammate and close friend of McGregor’s. According to White, when McGregor found out about the altercation, he “loaded the plane full of guys from Ireland, flew over here [to New York], and coordinated the attack on the bus” Nurmagomedov was on.
White added: “If you have a problem with someone in this business, we can handle it – you can literally fight them and do whatever in the rules of fighting. You can do that. That’s what should have been done.”
However, the actions McGregor chose to take have left him in out in the cold. “You’re talking about one of the biggest superstars globally in all of sports. And it doesn’t get worse than this.”
White concluded: “This is completely irrational behavior.”