Former UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping has claimed that the promotion planned for Conor McGregor to confront Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 but what went down was most definitely not part of those plans.
Speaking on his official podcast, the UFC on FOX analyst said that The Notorious was actually in the country to make a big announcement during UFC 223.
Bisping said that it didn’t work out the way the UFC planned after a series of events that resembled a WWE storyline unfolded:
Khabib and his crew confronted the Irishman’s teammate Artem Lobov and apparently attempted to intimidate him.
We’re supposed to believe that this caused McGregor to fly into a rage and over an ocean in order to defend his boy but Bisping said that he was actually coming over to announce a mega-fight.
“By all accounts, Conor was going to be at the Barclays Center on Saturday night to make an announcement,” he said. “It was going to be a title fight or whatever the fight was going to be, I’m sworn to secrecy so I can’t say, but he was going to be there.”
Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way: The Notorious attacked the UFC bus that Khabib was inside like it was that Mercedes on the Street Fighter game and in doing so, managed to screw up three scheduled UFC 223 fights.
Michael Chiesa vs Anthony Pettis was canned after McGregor smashed a bus window with a dollie and Chiesa suffered multiple cuts from broken glass.
Ray Borg vs Brandon Moreno also had to be scrapped after Borg got glass in his eye from the same smashed window.
And the man that this was all purportedly over, Artem Lobov, was pulled from his fight with Alex Caceres due to his direct involvement in the madness.
In the immediate aftermath, Bisping actually said that he thought McGregor should be praised for standing up to his rival Khabib and looking after his friend and teammate, Lobov.
“There are no gangs in MMA,” Bisping said. “There are gangs in England. There are gangs in Dublin. There are gangs all over the world just like right here. There are no gangs in MMA. Conor is not trying to be a gangster. Conor is just trying to look after his boys, right? Which you got to applaud him for. He made a mistake. That’s all it is.”
McGregor eventually turned himself in to Brooklyn police, was charged with assault, and will return to court on June 14. Lobov may face disciplinary action for his role in the incident. And pretty much everyone is suing the Irishman.
We may never know for sure why McGregor and his entourage flew all the way from Ireland to New York in the run-up to UFC 223.
One thing’s for sure, though; UFC president Dana White was none too pleased with his golden boy’s actions, labeling them ‘criminal’ and ‘disgusting’.
Still, if McGregor does signal his intention to return to the Octagon soon, I highly doubt that White would have a problem with that…