Conor McGregor talks 'taking the bait' in Miami incident, sorry he let fans down

It’s been a wild past few months for Conor McGregor.

In an interview with ESPN on Thursday, McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) expressed disappointment in himself for his recent actions.

The former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion was asked to elaborate on a March arrest after he swiped and smashed a fan’s cellphone in Miami. However, McGregor elected against giving specific details. Instead, he summed up the situation from his mental and emotional perspectives.

“In that Miami trip, I was preparing for battle,” McGregor said. “I brought my mother out. It was her 60th birthday. I brought the whole family out. We rent out and then the situation arose. I need to just stop reacting to the bait. People are trying to bait me into things. Am I the fish? Or am I the whale? I must be calm. I must be calm. I must be zen. I must lead by example. There’s so many people looking up to me. How can I react in this way? I need to get a hold of this.”

While he didn’t detail any specific means by which he’s approaching his issues, McGregor stated that he is “working really hard” and “taking the necessary steps” to get back to form. The Irishman also indicated he has not been involved in a similar incident in over five months.

“Like I said, I’m working really hard to do this,” McGregor said. “I’m taking the necessary steps and I’ve been on a great trajectory. Even before the Miami incident, I was on a great trajectory. And then I had a little slip and I’m back up. I’m trying my hardest. I swear on my life, I’m trying my hardest.

“It’s been, what? Five months since that one? That’s it. I just have to take what comes and move on. I’ve learned from every single experience in my life and try to do right for the people who want me to do right… But how can they back me in certain situations? I must understand that and grow as a man and make amends.”

As for the legalities of the arrest in Miami, McGregor indicated the incident is in the rearview mirror. Again, McGregor decided to speak about the overarching issues at hand, rather than specifics.

“That incident has been completely handled,” McGregor said. “Again, it does not matter what the person says or how the situation arose. It does not matter. I was in the wrong and that’s in the past. I’m happy now to keep moving forward and keep striving for the folks on the positive. You asked me about Miami and the heckler in Miami. I’d rather focus on the occasion with my family.”

Less than one month after he was arrested in Miami for destroying and stealing a cellphone in March, McGregor assaulted a patron at a pub in Ireland. The pub incident was captured on camera and McGregor spoke on this issue Thursday, saying “I was in the wrong.”

According to the former champ, one of the most difficult aspects he’s had to deal with mentally is letting not only his colleagues down, but the fans, as well. McGregor didn’t make excuses for his actions, and said he understood why he garnered the generally negative responses from all sides.

“As far as my fellow colleagues, I deserve to be called out on it,” McGregor said. “I deserve to be called out on that behavior. It’s just unacceptable. There’s no excuse to it. I deserve everything that comes may way with it.”

“As far as the fans and seeing the fans disappointed in me. It hurts me so much because I’m a fan. Everything I’ve done is for the fans. I’m a fan-favorite fighter. My whole entire career has been based for the fans. Never pulling out. Never turning down weights, sport, rules, anything. I’ve always done it all to light the game up for the fans and to create fanfare. To see them disappointed in me, it hurts me to my soul more than you’d ever know. Like I said, retribution, redemption, respect. I will come and I will regain all of those.”

McGregor, 31, has not fought since October 2018, when he lost to current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Prior to the fight against the Russian, McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez to become the first simultaneous belt holder in UFC history. McGregor later was forced to vacate both belts due to inactivity.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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