The UFC is having a tough week.
April 1 marked the beginning of the debacle that has become UFC 223 with Interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson getting injured in a freak accident. While the fans panicked the UFC were on their toes and were able to get Featherweight champion Max Holloway to step up on short notice.
Things appeared to be running smoothly after that with all the fighters cutting weight and fulfilling their media obligations as usual. That is until the storm known as Conor McGregor erupted onto the scene, throwing a dolly into a bus carrying UFC fighters including Lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Conor McGregor has since turned himself in to the NYPD and is now facing several charges including assault. The chaos of McGregor and his team’s actions have had ripple effects that transformed UFC 223 from one of the greatest cards in recent memory to a complete shell of itself. Below is video of Conor McGregor leaving the police precinct in handcuffs.
The bus attack directly effected two matches, namely the Michael Chiesa versus Anthony Pettis match and the Ray Borg versus Brandon Moreno match, both of which have been cancelled. That leaves a gaping hole what was once called the biggest event of the year.
To make matters worse, it appears that Max Holloway has now also been removed from the card, the giant weight cut he attempted leaving him medically unfit to fight according to UFC officials.
Many believe that all this was orchestrated by the UFC and Conor McGregor in hopes of building hype. One such person is Generation Iron collaborator, bodybuilder and actor Martyn Ford who stated the below.
With all this fallout, it’s truly hard to believe all of this could be staged. Considering the fact that multiple fights had to be cancelled due to the attack, injuries suffered from glass exploding through the bus, and a ton of property damage, for the UFC to sign off on such a thing would be ludicrous. The angle of video captured inside the bus also shows fighters sitting comfortably next to the window which the dolly smashed through. Unless you have a head made of steel, sitting there compliantly and hoping not to get your skull smashed in seems a bit of a stretch.
While McGregor could have calculated the attack in hopes of building interest once again, this was too much of a gamble for a powerhouse like the UFC to hang its hat on.
When you consider the amount of money they hope to lose from this event, not to mention all the lawsuits that will come out of this, its hard to look at these events and simply say, “Yup, that’s staged”.
With Max Holloway now off the card and multiple fights cancelled, the UFC is rushing to find a replacement to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event. Right now it appears that Anthony Pettis could have the best shot at taking on Nurmagomedov according to UFC officials.