Brooklyn, NY – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Conor McGregor could be banned from returning to the United States if things don’t go his way in a courtroom.
McGregor, 29, appeared in the Brooklyn criminal court on Friday after he was arrested on Thursday for attacking a bus full of fighters at the UFC’s Fight Week press availability.
The fighter was captured on video throwing a dolly through the window of a moving bus, resulting in some injuries.
McGregor was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of felony criminal mischief after his rampage in the Barclay’s Center, The Daily Mail reported.
He spent the night in a cell at the precinct, and was transported to court for his arraignment on Friday morning, according to TMZ.
McGregor’s bail was set at $50,000, and the judge did not impose any travel restrictions on the professional fighter, The Independent reported.
The judge also didn’t take McGregor’s passport which meant the fighter was free to go home to Ireland if he wanted to do so.
Immigration experts have speculated that the UFC champion might lose his privileges to travel to the United States if he was convicted of a crime that could be interpreted as “moral turpitude,” The Daily Mail reported.
Scott Bratton, a partner at the immigration law firm of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, told The Daily Mail that it will be up to McGregor’s attorneys to work a deal with the court that permits the fighter to continue to enter and work in the United States.
“If he's convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, it could have implications for his ability to come back, and it may make it very difficult to come back [to the US, Bratton],” Bratton said.
Bratton said McGregor’s attorneys will have to try to set up a plea deal that specifically avoids any convictions on charged that could impact his immigration status, The Daily Mail reported.
Simple assault is not usually considered a crime of “moral turpitude;” however, assault with aggravating factors is often considered exactly that, Bratton said.
Administrative rulings have held that “moral turpitude” generally refers to conduct which “shocks the public conscience” and is “inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality,” The Daily Mail reported.
Bratton explained that if the fighter were convicted of assault with aggravating circumstances, his visa would likely be revoked and it would be very hard for him to get another one because it would require special waivers.
He said McGregor’s global celebrity status wouldn’t help him get the waiver.
UFC President Dana White told The Independent that he’d spoken to McGregor before he turned himself in, and the fighter wasn’t sorry for his actions.
McGregor was not expected to attend the UFC 223 media day at the Barclay’s Center.
His refusal to defend the title he won in November of 2016 has caused issues for the UFC, because he has effectively shut down competition in a lucrative division, Deadspin reported.
The organization had announced its intention to strip McGregor of his championship belt this weekend, and give it to the winner of the Max Holloway-Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, and McGregor was reportedly furious about it.
Holloway was not medially cleared to fight and now Nurmagomedov is set to fight Al Iaquinta.
Shortly after McGregor arrived at the Barclay’s Center, a series of videos began appearing on social media that showed the champion fighter throwing barricades and trash cans at other fighters.
One video showed that he picked up a long metal fence-like barricade and carried it across the room, attempting to throw it at a bus, before somebody intervened and took the barricade away from him, setting it down on the ground.
Not to be thwarted, the video showed McGregor began knocking over trash cans and other equipment before rushing up to one of the buses filled with fighters.
In another video, the altercation that precipitated the hijacking of the barricade was shown.
McGregor could be seen running up to a bus full of fighters and calling out someone to come fight with him.
“Open the f**kin door!” he can be heard saying in the video.
Inside the bus, somebody else was heard asking “Mike” if he was okay. The bus began backing out of the area.
“What the f**k is wrong with him?” someone on the bus asked.
Then McGregor grabbed an object and smashed the windshield of the bus, the video showed.
“I’m gonna f**king kill this guy,” somebody inside the bus raged, as the bus continued to back away, and a barricade came down in front of it.
Fighter Michael Chiesa suffered an injury during the chaos, including cuts to his face, and was in the hospital.