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Marc Goddard issues statement on Conor McGregor Bellator incident: ‘The video does not lie’

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Referee Marc Goddard issued a lengthy statement in response to an incident with Conor McGregor last weekend at a Bellator event in Dublin.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Gdansk-Lobov vs Fili Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor has apologized for his most recent outburst, and now the referee involved in the melee has broken his silence about the incident. Last weekend at a Bellator event in Dublin, McGregor entered the cage after believing his teammate Charlie Ward had just finished opponent John Redmond late in the first round. But the fight was not over, and this led an irate McGregor to shove referee Marc Goddard and trash talk him while others held him back.

McGregor, who was not a licensed cornerman that night, stated in his apology that he thought Goddard was making a “horrendous decision” to continue the fight, among other things. Now, Goddard has responded with a very lengthy and detailed Facebook post about the incident.

After a couple of days of downtime and reflection I would like to offer some clarification on the events that unfolded...

Posted by Marc Goddard on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In the post, he explains that due to crowd noise he couldn’t hear the round-ending horn, so he stepped in when he thought the round was over. The fight wasn’t over at that point, as Goddard stated that he did step in between the fighters but hadn’t waved off the fight. That’s when McGregor jumped into the cage.

“As I see Conor McGregor in the ring – this is the ONLY reason that I approach Mr Ward. Conor is of zero concern to me at this point, he “happened to be there” [wrongly] and my intention again as you will clearly see from the video is to approach Charlie to let him know that the fight was not at that point officially over, that he should return to his corner and wait for my assessment and call. Had I indeed ended the bout then the fact Conor McGregor was in the ring would have been of zero concern to me and I wouldn’t even have approached them. I would have no need to.”

He continued on, reiterating that he never pushed McGregor and simply had his arm between Ward and Conor to attempt to inform Ward that the fight wasn’t over yet. That’s when Conor’s tirade began.

“Immediately behind me Conor McGregor is running after me, incensed that the fight was not yet officially ruled over, trying to get round a commission representative, this is unbeknown to me and again if you look at the video he then breaks free of the commissioner and round into my back, it was a light and insignificant touch of no concern to me but what is of paramount importance here is the facts. The video does not lie. Again at this point I wanted to look at John Redmond and had notified his corned that it was not over, I had called for what I had believed to be the bell. Conor McGregors actions and ensuing melee of additional people with and connected to him, again with zero need or authority to even be in the cage, had also resulted in John Redmond being knocked around by the very people who were trying to ensure his safety and well being.”

He was then finally able to talk to the timekeeper, who informed him that the horn actually went one second after he had stepped in. So he ruled the fight to be over and gave Ward the win. That didn’t stop Conor though:

“Conor McGregor was then forcefully ejected from the cage, whilst still trying to get to me and continuing his verbal tirade and threats, including “seeing me in Birmingham” [my hometown] Conor McGregor’s threats are of no concern to me. He then circled outside of the cage and jumped back up on the cage and when a commission official tried to get him down he struck out to him. The video presents all the evidence that is needed. People are mistakenly under the belief that they are entitled to their own opinion and I’m not really up for that train of thought however, we can argue that one, but what you’re never entitled to is your own facts – these will always remain unchanged.”

Goddard directly responded to Conor’s statement, where he said Goddard was “trying to pick up an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round”:

“It is of imperative importance that this point is understood – once I know that I had stepped across and in between the fighters at 4:59 [or any time for that matter] then the fight is officially over and there is no going back. Again at this point it was categorically clear to me that John Redmond was indeed in no state to continue and the rightful winner was Charlie Ward. Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued. I then notified all concerned and we could conclude the bout officially and satisfactorily. At no point did I attempt to “pick up an unconscious fighter” [he was not unconscious] and of course would never “force the fight to continue”.”

He finished by saying he doesn’t want anyone to be punished for the incident. You can read the entire statement by clicking on the Facebook link above.