Dana White responds to criticism for booking Conor McGregor amidst sexual assault allegations

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As Conor McGregor prepares for his first fight in more than a year when he takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246, the former two-division champion has faced a lot of criticism for his outside-the-cage behavior.

Most recently, McGregor settled a criminal charge after he punched a bar patron in an unprovoked assault in his home country of Ireland.

Far more disturbing, however, are the pair of sexual assault allegations that have been levied against McGregor in recent months following two separate reports from the New York Times. While McGregor has never been charged, the reports stated that he was brought in for questioning and later released.

Because Ireland has strict libel laws, McGregor has never been named by police or news outlets there as a suspect, but because of his alleged connection to the abhorrent crimes, the UFC has come under fire for continuing to book him in fights while under investigation.

UFC president Dana White seemed woefully unaware that anyone was raising a stink over McGregor fighting in January, but he defended the booking when speaking with Yahoo Sports this week.

“He hasn’t been charged with anything. You can’t accuse somebody and stop them from making a living when they haven’t even been charged of anything,” White said. “Conor McGregor has made a lot of bad decisions in the last several years. He’s paid for it. He walked into court and pleaded guilty for punching that guy in the face in Ireland. He paid for the phone, slapped the phone [out of the guy’s hand]. He attacked the bus and paid for that.

“So he’s obviously done some things. He’s been charged and whatever, paid and done everything that he’s supposed to do. These other things, first of all I don’t even know, is it even out? Has it said that he’s the guy that’s being accused?”

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White can’t exonerate McGregor for any wrongdoing, but he also refuses to convict him in the court of public opinion over accusations that as of now remain unfounded.

If McGregor had been arrested and charged, White says that’s another scenario entirely, but for now he has no reason not to continue putting the Irish superstar back to work.

“If he was being charged with something right now, it would be a different story,” White said.  “The New York Times wrote those stories, but there’s no other stories out there about Conor McGregor.”

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