Conor McGregor has talked about returning to the Octagon as early as this summer. An arrest in Ireland now threatens his chances of making a comeback this year.
The Irish Independent reported Wednesday that McGregor was arrested in Dublin on Tuesday night for alleged dangerous driving. Per the report, his Bentley Continental GT was seized and McGregor was charged. He was released on bail and had his car returned to him.
Irish police did not confirm that McGregor was arrested but said a man in his 30s was arrested for dangerous driving in Palmerstown on Tuesday evening, the Irish Independent reported. A McGregor spokesperson told the Independent the former UFC champion had been “stopped.”
“Mr. McGregor was driving to the gym when he was stopped by [police] for alleged road traffic violations. He passed the drug and alcohol tests taken at the station,” the spokesperson told the Irish Independent.
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With McGregor’s eyes set on a return to UFC this year, The Sporting News dives into how this could impact his timeline for a comeback.
How does Conor McGregor’s arrest impact his UFC return?
McGregor recently said in an interview on his YouTube channel, “MacLife,” that he wants to face welterweight champion and top men’s pound-for-pound fighter Kamaru Usman as early as late summer 2022.
Usman, who is recovering from hand surgery, won’t be returning to the Octagon until this summer and has said his next fight will be against third-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards.
In an interview with talkSport, UFC president Dana White said he expects McGregor back in the fall this year. White suggested the opponent could be lightweight champion Charles Oliveira or top contender Justin Gaethje, who are set to fight on May 7.
“I’m not worried about [finding McGregor an opponent] because, first of all, Conor is not even fighting right now,” White told talkSport. “He’s not back until the fall — if everything goes right. So a lot of the matchups will play out this summer and whoever wins or loses, when Conor is cleared by a doctor and ready to go, we’ll figure out who’s next.”
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Those interviews were before McGregor’s arrest, however. Now, the timeline could be further disrupted.
According to the Irish Independent, McGregor is facing a fine of up to €5,000 (just under $5,500) and/or six months’ imprisonment. A hearing in Blanchardstown district court will be held sometime in April, per the report.
The legal process would likely eliminate a summer fight and put any fight in 2022 in jeopardy. Most fighters need at least eight weeks to train for a fight, and McGregor is coming off a broken tibia that will complicate his return to training.
This is far from McGregor’s first run-in with the law for his driving. The Irish Independent reported that he appeared in Blanchardstown district court in 2017 and was fined €400 for speeding. In 2020, The Irish Times reported he pleaded guilty to speeding in County Kildare after he was caught going 154 km/h (95 mph) in a 100 km/h (62 mph) zone. He was fined €1,000 and could not drive for another six months.