NEW YORK CITY — Brandon Moreno’s fight was one of the several casualties from the Conor McGregor incident.
The Mexican fighter was scheduled to meet Ray Borg in an important 125-pound contest at Saturday’s UFC 223 in Brooklyn, N.Y. However, Moreno’s plans to fight the No. 3 ranked flyweight quickly changed on Thursday when UFC superstar McGregor attacked one of the buses transporting several UFC 223 competitors from the media day at the Barclays Center back to the fighter’s hotel. The attack, which was carried out by McGregor and his entourage, targeted UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, however there were several other fighters in the bus, including Moreno’s opponent.
“My training partner and I were on the bus (not the one McGregor attacked) waiting to leave and suddenly we saw Conor running with a bunch of people behind him,” Moreno told MMA Fighting. “We weren’t able to see well, but we clearly heard when the window of the bus was broken and everyone yelling and hitting the bus, so yeah, we saw absolutely everything.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s one of those things that happen one in a million. I never thought I would see anything like this, but I did. So yeah, I was just there and I didn’t really have a reaction because I couldn’t really believe it. But outside of that I never thought this would reach these heights.”
During the attack, one of the windows of the bus was shattered. Lightweight contender Michael Chiesa was taken to the hospital, as he suffered several cuts to his face, and so was Borg, who complained about an inability to close his eyes.
Later that day, it was reported that Borg had multiple corneal abrasions due to shards of glass, forcing the cancellation of the flyweight bout.
Moreno recalls the moment he got the news.
“At 8:00 p.m. New York time I went downstairs to do my weight cut, actually. I had just done the cut and someone from the media came and told us that something had happened with Ray Borg,” Moreno explained. “My trainer made a concerned expression and said he was going to investigate. And when I came out (of the sauna area), Khabib’s manager told me that my fight had been canceled and I was just like, ‘Damn, are you serious?’ Right now I don’t know what to think. It’s one of those things were you think it will never happen to you, it just happens to other people.
“When I went to the lobby of the hotel, it felt like I had someone pass away. Everyone was saying they were sorry and all that and that’s when I realized it was serious.”
Moreno later got confirmation from UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard that his fight was off the UFC 223 card. He was also told that the status of his pay was still unsure.
“I’m seeing if we’re going to get paid or not,” Moreno said. “Right now I just finished my weight cut and I haven’t eaten anything. So until someone tells me something, I’m going to cut the weight and I’m going to show up tomorrow to weigh-ins and complete my obligation.”
Moreno says it’s been difficult to process the bizarre incident that forced the cancellation of his fight with Borg.
“I don’t have a word right now, it’s probably something like disappointment and a little bit of sadness because I felt that this was the perfect scenario to shine,” Moreno said. “I had already done all my camp, I had already spent a bunch of money, I traveled to Las Vegas and spent a lot of money there. So for something like this to happen, it’s very sad because it wasn’t even Ray’s fault. It was because of a totally barbaric and irresponsible person that never realized that his whole act was going to get out of control. This is the worst.
“I dont know what to say regarding Conor. I’m a person that doesn’t hold resentment against anyone, that never loses composure with people. I respect people and their decisions, but this time Conor McGregor affected me and Ray Borg. We also have to see what happens with Ray Borg, because glass in your retina is something super dangerous, so God willing everything is fine with him. So yeah, I don’t think Conor McGregor ever thought that this was going to get out of control.”
The 24-year-old Tijuana native is hoping to return soon to the Octagon.
Moreno is interested in the possibility of fighting at next month’s UFC Chile event, but he’s open to fighting on a closer date.