As was expected, thousands of Irish fight fans traveled to Las Vegas, NV to watch Dublin’s Conor McGregor compete on October 6th. And while the stands were still filled with raucous supporters when Khabib Nurmagomedov flew into the crowd after defeating McGregor, not everyone looking to support the Irishman was able to make the trip successfully.
Independent.ie has reported that several dozen McGregor fans were prevented from attending the event, most of whom were not even allowed to board flights for the US out of Dublin. Independent stated that 53 people, all of whom had paid for flights from Dublin to Las Vegas, were either stopped at a US pre-clearance facility at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 or arrested shortly after arriving in the US and sent on flights back to Ireland.
It is also reported that many of these individuals were refused entry because of past criminal convictions. And even that some individuals were stopped because of alleged links to the Kinahan Cartel, an organized crime outfit that is alleged to be Ireland’s top supplier of narcotics. The Kinahan Cartel is reported to be embroiled in a bloody gang war with the Hutch Gang, which has lead to at least 18 deaths.
Mark Elliot, who is married to McGregor’s sister Aoife McGregor, was one of the individuals stopped at Dublin Airport. Elliott previously served a three-year jail sentence for dealing marijuana. Elliot is not reported to have any connections to the Kinahan Cartel or organized crime.
Also stopped at Dublin Airport was a senior member of the west Dublin heroin dealing gang known as ‘The Family’ (per Independent.ie).
Apparently, Andrew Murray and Jonathan Murray were prevented from traveling in support of McGregor as well. The Murray brothers, who are from Crumlin, are reportedly close friends with McGregor. Between them they have over 70 past convictions many of which center around dealing drugs. Jonathan Murray has also served a prison sentence for assault.
The Murray brothers have been reported in Ireland as having some connection to the Kinahan Cartel. More information on their links to that outfit, and to McGregor, can be found in Conor and the Cartel: A look at the shady figures linked to UFC megastar Conor McGregor.
Despite the dozens of fans being halted from attending, UFC 229 – controversy and all – is likely to break multiple records for attendance, gate, social media impressions, and pay-per-view sales. McGregor has already taken to social media stating his hopes for a rematch with Nurmagomedov. Maybe the UFC can even bring the next fight to Ireland, so everyone can attend.