Conor McGregor’s unexpected retirement from the UFC on Tuesday night has been followed by a bombshell report from the New York Times.
Conor McGregor’s latest retirement from fighting has been immediately overshadowed by a report he is under investigation for sexual assault in Ireland.
The New York Times has reported allegations Irish media have been unable to link to the UFC superstar because of local laws which prevent the naming of individuals charged with rape unless they are convicted.
“Conor McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s biggest star and one of the world’s highest-paid athletes, is under investigation in Ireland after a woman accused him of sexual assault in December, according to four people familiar with the investigation,” the New York Times report said.
“McGregor has not been charged with a crime. Following the usual protocol in criminal investigations in Ireland and much of Europe, where a formal charge does not necessarily follow an arrest, McGregor was arrested in January, questioned by law enforcement authorities and released pending further investigation, according to the people.
“The allegations have not been proven and the fact that an investigation is continuing does not imply that McGregor is guilty of a crime. A lawyer for McGregor in Dublin did not respond to messages seeking comment.”
A spokesman for McGregor provided a statement to ESPN after the report was published.
The woman making the allegation said it occurred at the Beacon Hotel, an establishment attached to a business park on the edge of Dublin. There is little to suggest it would be a haunt for one of Ireland’s best-known sports figures, a multimillionaire with a loyal, global fan base.
McGregor is an occasional guest there, usually booking its sole penthouse room, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The last and most recent visit occurred in December.
In response to local reports about an unnamed sporting star being investigated over an alleged sexual assault, Irish Police released a brief statement to say: “A man had been arrested on January 17 and was released without charge while investigations continue”.
REPORT FOLLOWS SHOCK RETIREMENT
McGregor announced his retirement on social media on Tuesday, abruptly ending his remarkable fighting career.
In a post on his verified Twitter account, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion said: “I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today.”
The post wishes his “old colleagues well going forward in competition,” and says he would “join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!”
UFC President Dana White said in a text message to the Associated Press that McGregor’s announcement “totally makes sense.” “He has the money to retire, and his whiskey is KILLIN it,” White added. “If I was him, I would retire too. He’s retiring from fighting. Not from working. The Whiskey will keep him busy, and I’m sure he has other things he’s working on. He has been so fun to watch!!! He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it.”
Conor McGregor quits UFC!
The 30-year-old McGregor is the most famous fighter in his sport, but he hasn’t won a fight since November 2016, when he beat Eddie Alvarez to become the first UFC fighter to hold championship belts in two divisions simultaneously. His only fight in 2017 was a loss to boxer Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history.
He finally returned to the UFC cage last October, but lost a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission in the fourth round.
McGregor was widely expected to fight for the UFC later this year. A few hours before he announced his retirement, McGregor appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in New York and claimed he was negotiating for a probable fight in July at UFC 239 in Las Vegas.
“I don’t necessarily need to fight,” McGregor said on the show. “I am set for life. My family is set for life. We are good, but I am eager to fight, so we’ll see what happens.”
McGregor has quit his sport before. He announced his retirement on Twitter in April 2016 during a dispute with the UFC about the promotion of his next proposed bout. He reversed his decision two days later and fought in August 2016, winning his rematch with Nate Diaz.
White believes this retirement is genuine, and McGregor has had plenty of action outside the cage to occupy his time.
In April 2018, McGregor was charged with assault and criminal mischief after he attacked a bus carrying UFC fighters outside Barclays Arena in Brooklyn. McGregor was acting in revenge for a perceived slight against a teammate, and he eventually pleaded no contest to a count of disorderly conduct.
Earlier this month, McGregor was arrested again in Miami Beach for stealing the phone of someone trying to take his photo, authorities said. McGregor was charged with robbery and criminal mischief, but his lawyer described the altercation as minor.
McGregor also was suspended from MMA competition for six months and fined $US50,000 ($A70,200) for his role in a brawl instigated by Nurmagomedov immediately after their bout last October.
If it sticks, McGregor’s retirement ends a remarkable rise for the former plumber from Dublin who became the biggest star in MMA with his heavy fists and self-promotional acumen. He won 15 consecutive fights during his rise, including a spectacular 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo to win the featherweight title in December 2015.