Conor McGregor's potential conviction could spell trouble for his future in the U.S.
Conor McGregor’s Barclay's blowout may not just have sullied his reputation and caused his advertisers to take a second look. The Irish UFC star could have hampered his chances of fighting in the US ever again.
As an Irish citizen, 29-year-old McGregor may be saying 'so long' to his big-money American-fight payouts, depending on how the court process plays out when he returns to face his charges in Brooklyn on June 14.
At a time when the Trump administration is targeting aliens who commit criminal acts, McGregor could find himself in serious trouble.
On Friday afternoon, the Irish sports star was released on a $50,000 bail, handed back his passport and allowed to return back to Ireland after storming the UFC press conference in Brooklyn on Thursday. He was taken in after smashing the glass on a bus carrying other UFC fighters and injuring two of them to such an extent that they were forced to pull out of the UFC’s big pay-for-view fight night taking place in New York on Saturday night.
Former UFC champion Conor McGregor appears in court for his arraignment following a violent incident outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fighter's been charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, police said. https://t.co/jrAyV3rY4J pic.twitter.com/U76DeIanqu— ABC News (@ABC) April 6, 2018
While UFC President Dana White has condemned McGregor’s actions and showed disgust at the way he acted in New York on Thursday, the Dublin native's future of fighting in the US may not lay in White's hands at all but in the hands of US immigration.
While assault is not normally the type of conviction that would automatically trigger a ban on U.S. entry or the revocation of a visa, immigration lawyers explained to IrishCentral, if this conviction was heightened into a charge like an aggravated assault, it could look less positive for McGregor. There are waivers, however, that can be applied for if a conviction was to mess with the future of his visa.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Scott Bratton, a partner at Margaret W. Wong & Associates immigration law firm, explained that the MMA fighter would have to be convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude” in order for it to have implications on his immigration status.
An assault with aggravating factors would move it into this realm of “moral turpitude,” a legal concept used in the U.S. which refers to "an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community." The concept itself is considered quite difficult to define and to argue but has been described as an "act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow men.”
It is of importance in particular in U.S. immigration law, despite its vague explanation, as to be found guilty of this is considered a bar on your immigration abilities.
Again, Bratton confirms that waivers could be acquired to reenter the U.S. even if convicted of assault with aggravating circumstances.
It is thought more likely that McGregor’s lawyers will look for a plea deal, which would not see any threat to his immigration status and would be structured in such a way that he would have no issues in entering the U.S. in the future.
Conor McGregor in handcuffs. I see it and I still don't believe it. How did we get here? pic.twitter.com/oSyss23EDO— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) April 6, 2018
Even with no negative immigration outcomes, New York City may not be as quick to welcome the Irish star as it once was, however. A statement from the New York State Athletic Commission said: “The incident that occurred today at the Barclays Center was unacceptable and has no place in New York State sports.”
On Thursday afternoon, videos emerged of McGregor storming the UFC 233 press conference being held in Barclays before Saturday’s New York fight night. With the fighters packed into buses and vans ready to leave the venue, two members of McGregor’s team at The Mac Life allowed him into a private parking bar where he began to throw barriers and a hand dolly at the windows of the vehicles, smashing windows and injuring the fighters sitting inside.
Accompanied by a group of around 20 men, McGregor fled the scene shortly after with UFC President Dana White confirming later on Thursday afternoon that the NYPD wished to speak to him.
The UFC fighter handed himself over to police in the 78th precinct in Prospect Heights on Thursday night at around 11 pm.
Read more: What you need to know about Conor McGregor
A member of the Dublin man’s group and fellow MMA fighter Cian Cowley has also been charged with assault and criminal mischief. In total, McGregor faces three charges of assault and one count of felony criminal mischief.
As a result of the attack and injuries sustained, the UFC has been forced to pull three fights from its Saturday line-up. Both lightweight Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg were deemed unfit to fight because of facial lacerations and corneal abrasions.
McGregor's teammate Artem Lobov had been pulled from the fight sheet earlier on Thursday because of his own involvement in the incident. It is believed that McGregor had flown to New York because of an altercation between his friend Lobov and lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov on Tuesday.
The impact of Conor McGregor's actions:— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) April 6, 2018
-Injuries caused to UFC fighters (Michael Chiesa & Ray Borg) and staff (Reed Harris and colleague).
-3 fights cancelled from #UFC223; Caceres/Lobov, Chiesa/Pettis, Borg/Moreno.
-McGregor charged with multiple counts of assault by the NYPD.
Nurmagomedov is one of two fighters who had been set to contest for McGregor’s lightweight title on Saturday night. It had been announced earlier in the week that as McGregor has not fought within the UFC for two years, the belt would be put up for grabs once again. This revelation is believed to have added to the motive behind the Irishman’s actions on Thursday and he furthered displayed his anger at the announcement.
Already something of a controversial love/hate figure at home and abroad, McGregor looked straight ahead as he was brought from the police station as fans heckled him from outside. Speaking to ESPN on Friday morning, UFC President Dana White claimed that other fighters may sue McGregor, no matter the outcome in court.
Having had a text messages conversation with McGregor, White said that the 29-year-old was not completely apologetic. He said the Irish fighter was "apologetic about the people he wasn't trying to hurt. But he felt the Khabib thing had to be done."
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