UFC president Dana White said his biggest star has been banned from The Big Apple, but New York officials are saying otherwise.
Appearing on The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday to talk about Saturday’s highly anticipated UFC 229 card headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov taking on Conor McGregor, White was asked what he thought of the theory that UFC officials somehow played a role in McGregor’s wild attack on a bus that was carrying Nurmagomedov back in April, the footage of which has become a major part of the marketing for the grudge match.
White scoffed at the notion that the UFC would plan anything like that and his answer also included an interesting tidbit involving McGregor’s future status competing in New York.
In his last MMA outing before taking time off to raise his newborn child and pursue a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016 at Madison Square Garden, a card that was a massive financial success for the company.
However, McGregor’s actions in Brooklyn during the fight week for UFC 223 potentially put him in serious legal trouble as he faced a dozen potential criminal charges for the Barclays Center rampage that saw him shatter a bus window in an attempt to attack Nurmagomedov (allegedly as retaliation for Nurmagomedov and associates getting into an altercation with McGregor’s close friend and teammate Artem Lobov earlier in the week).
In July, McGregor and his legal team agreed to a plea deal in which he pled guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and was required to undergo community service and anger management, as well as paying restitution for the damages to the UFC fighter bus. All criminal charges were dismissed.
To reinforce his point about it being far too costly for the UFC to be involved with such a stunt, White told Rome that even with McGregor’s legal problems having been cleared, he is still not welcome to work in the state of New York again.
“Conor can’t fight in New York now,” White said. “We did an $18 million gate in New York. New York won’t have him fight in New York now. We’re going to do all that and risk that for what? What would be the purpose?”
In response to that, New York State Department of State spokesperson Lee Park told MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi in a statement that McGregor is not currently licensed to compete in New York, but he also has not recently submitted a new application to do so.
“Nothing has changed regarding Mr. McGregor’s licensing status to participate in combat sports in New York State,” said Park, in a statement. “He is not currently licensed in New York, and he has not submitted an application to be licensed in New York. If and when he does submit an application, the Athletic Commission will review the submission in accordance with our rules and regulations.”
Park did not indicate that there were any state sanctions regarding McGregor’s eligibility to compete there and he shot down the suggestion that there has been any recent talks of McGregor fighting in New York.
“UFC has never inquired about such a fight in New York,” said Park. “Secondly, New York has never denied any proposed UFC bout featuring Conor McGregor.”