Before Conor McGregor issued an apology for his wild behavior at Bellator 187, longtime coach John Kavanagh, who heads SBG Ireland in McGregor’s hometown of Dublin, made a statement on The Six O’Clock Show.
Kavanagh, who has been coaching and mentoring ‘The Notorious’ since he was a teenager, said McGregor got over-emotional over teammate Charlie Ward’s knockout victory. Ward, who now competes in the Bellator middleweight division, was cut from the UFC earlier this year and snapped a two-fight losing streak at Bellator 187, knocking out John Redmond at the end of the first round.
“He [Ward] lost fast and hard in both his UFC fights and was dropped by the UFC and then he fought on Bellator,” Kavanagh said on Irish television, per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll.
“So, when you’re seeing someone that you’re that close with, with two bad defeats and then has a great victory in front of his hometown crowd…he got a bit emotional, jumped in and he didn’t realize that the fight had no actually been called.
“He thought when he knocked the guy down it was over, but it was actually just the end of the round. The fight wasn’t over.
“The referee was trying to tell him that the fight was over. It was pretty obvious it was over, in his defense. He was a little bit over emotional there, but you sort of understand when you know his and Charlie’s relationship over the last number of years.”
While celebrating with Ward, McGregor jumped the cage, shoved referee Marc Goddard and slapped a Bellator official in the face. In his official apology, the UFC lightweight champion referred to Marc Goddard as ‘Marc Gonard’.
McGregor has teased at returning to MMA to defend his lightweight title against newly-crowned interim champ Tony Ferguson, but ABC president Mike Mazzulli claims that the UFC has removed the Irishman from the upcoming UFC 219 card on Dec. 30 due to his misconduct in the Bellator cage.