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Referee Goddard explains warning to Conor McGregor at UFC Gdansk: ‘He can’t do as he pleases’

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Conor McGregor was reprimanded by a referee during a teammate’s fight at UFC Gdansk, and the referee explains why it happened.

One of the strangest things from this weekend’s UFC Gdansk event came during a featherweight fight between Artem Lobov and Andre Fili. Lobov’s teammate, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, had been walking around the cage and shouting instructions to his friend. So when Fili took Lobov down and McGregor was right there again, referee Marc Goddard actually stopped the fight briefly and forcefully told Conor to go back to his seat.

It’s very rare for a referee to do something like that, but it’s also quite rare that a teammate would just run around the cage like that, shouting the whole time. Goddard explained to MMA Fighting exactly why he told McGregor off – because he was acting as an additional cornerman:

“The reason I interjected is because Artem gets a fourth cornerman cageside giving instruction. That’s not allowed. Imagine had Conor talked him through a fight-ending sequence. Then what?”

“Conor was basically acting like a fourth cornerman,” Goddard said. “Walking around the cage side wherever and whenever he wanted. When Fili took down Artem, Conor was right there. That’s simply not fair and not allowed. I won’t have it. He can’t do as he pleases.”

Goddard explained that if McGregor had stayed in his seat, there’s no issue. But because he was walking around and was frequently right next to Lobov, it wasn’t allowed.

“If Conor had stood up, stayed at his seat, then he could have shouted till his hearts content,” Goddard said. “That’s what he’s supposed to do. But what he simply cannot do, what he is not allowed to do, is approach the cage at any point and as I say act as the fourth corner. That’s unfair and unjust. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’ve done this forever, in any country in any situation. My integrity is not wavered and neither is the rules. We can’t allow that. I simply had to act.”

For his part, McGregor just said “my bad, my bad” and dutifully went back to his seat after the rebuke. Lobov lost the fight by unanimous decision.

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