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MMA fighter McGregor to appear in New York court on assault charges

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor was driven to a New York City courtroom on Friday to be arraigned on charges of assault stemming from a melee following a press event for a series of UFC fights to be staged at a Brooklyn arena.

The sport’s best-known athlete and an international star, McGregor, 29, was dressed in a blue, long-sleeved golf shirt that hid his elaborate tattoos as he was escorted from the police station where he surrendered the previous night.

He faces three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief following the fracas at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center on Thursday evening.

A video of the incident, widely circulated on social media, appears to show the Irish-born McGregor and his entourage using a metal barricade and other objects to smash windows on a bus filled with fighters departing from the event.

Efforts to reach McGregor’s representatives were not successful. It was not clear who was representing him at the court hearing.

McGregor last fought in the UFC in November 2016, when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight belt. But he never defended the title as he entered the boxing ring instead, to take on Floyd Mayweather in August 2017.

MMA fighter Conor McGregor walks out of the 78th police precinct after charges were laid against him following a late night melee in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

His technical knockout loss to Mayweather was the second biggest pay-per-view fight in history.

In January, the UFC said Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson would fight for the undisputed lightweight title at Saturday’s event, known as UFC 223. As a consequence, the Irishman would lose the belt.

In February, McGregor said he had offered to fight at UFC 222 but was denied.

UFC President Dana White said in an interview on ESPN that a UFC fighter on the bus was hit and cut by a dolly thrown through the window, and that another fighter had the cornea of his eyes cut as the glass broke into dust-like material.

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UFC was founded in 1993 and popularized cage fighting. It now holds dozens of fights around the world every year that have surpassed pro wresting and boxing in popularity, and are broadcast in more than 156 nations, reaching 1.1 billion households.

In July 2016, the UFC said it had agreed to be bought by talent agency WME-IMG in a transaction a source valued at $4 billion, one of the largest price tags for a sports brand.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Philip O’Connor; Editing by Frank McGurty and Bernadette Baum

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