Conor McGregor says he's sorry for acting 'out of line'

Updated: November 14, 2017, 11:25 PM ET
By Brett Okamoto

Conor McGregor issued a public apology via social media on Tuesday for his questionable actions during a Bellator MMA event this past weekend in Dublin.

McGregor, the UFC's lightweight champion, created a scene at Bellator 187 when he leaped over the cage after his teammate Charlie Ward's knockout win over John Redmond.

In a written statement, McGregor apologized to Bellator and commission officials, Redmond and his fans. He did not directly apologize to referee Marc Goddard, whom he said failed to properly officiate the bout.

Conor McGregorStephen McCarthy/Sportsfile/Getty ImagesConor McGregor has apologized for jumping into the ring at a Bellator event.

"I sincerely apologize for my behavior at last weekend's fight event in Dublin," McGregor posted to Instagram. "While trying to support a loyal teammate and friend, I let my emotions get the best of me and acted out of line. As a multiple weight champion, executive producer, role model and public figure, I must hold myself to a higher standard.

"The referee Marc Goddard was making a horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round. Even against the wishes of the said fighter's coach. The fight was over.

"After witnessing my fighter in a fight where the worst happened and the opponent passed away from his injuries on the night, I thought the worst was about to happen again, and I lost it and overreacted. I am sorry to everyone."

McGregor's last statement is in reference to a tragedy last year when Portuguese welterweight Joao Carvalho died after a TKO loss to Ward.

In a lengthy statement of his own, Goddard, a veteran referee with experience in the UFC and Bellator, confirmed he hadn't called off the fight right away, and McGregor's presence in the cage delayed him from doing so.

The knockout occurred with one second remaining in the first round. Due to crowd noise, Goddard said there was some confusion over whether the round ended, and he was in the middle of assessing the situation with the timekeeper.

"Once I know that I had stepped across and in between the fighters at 4:59, then the fight is officially over and there is no going back," Goddard wrote on Facebook. "At this point, it was categorically clear to me that John Redmond was indeed in no state to continue and the rightful winner was Charlie Ward.

"Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place, then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued."

Goddard also claimed McGregor verbally threatened him, mentioning a meeting in his hometown of Birmingham, England.

Added Goddard: "McGregor's threats are of no concern to me."

McGregor's apology comes one day after he posted, then deleted, a much different statement. In his initial post, which was quickly removed, McGregor seemed to defend his actions.

"Bloke KO'd on floor bout a minute straight and ref trying to say fight not over Conor. That's when I lost it," McGregor wrote. "F--- yous all."

The U.S.-based Mohegan Tribe Department of Regulation oversaw the event and released a statement categorizing McGregor's actions as an "assault" on Goddard. The MTDR has not, however, formally punished McGregor.

MTDR official Mike Mazzulli has said the UFC pulled McGregor from a planned bout at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, but the UFC has never announced McGregor would fight on that date. The UFC has not yet commented on the situation.

McGregor (21-3) has not fought in mixed martial arts in 2017. His last appearance in the UFC was in November 2016, when he became a multidivisional champion by knocking out Eddie Alvarez.

Brett Okamoto

ESPN Staff Writer

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