Conor McGregor avoids prison after plea deal

UFC star Conor McGregor pleaded guilty to a single violation of disorderly conduct in Brooklyn criminal court Thursday, for his involvement in an incident on April 5 at Barclays Center.

McGregor, 30, entered the plea as part of a deal worked out with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. The agreement involves no jail time and will not affect McGregor’s travel visa. He will not have a criminal record.

Additional conditions of the deal include full restitution to the bus company for any damages suffered, which McGregor already has fulfilled, five days of community service and an anger management program lasting one to three days.

“I just want to say I’m thankful to the DA and the judge for allowing me to move forward,” McGregor said in a brief statement outside the courthouse. “I want to say to my friends, my family, my fans — thank you for your support.”

Orders of protection also were given for MMA fighters Ray Borg, Jason Ledbetter and Michael Chiesa.

Prior to the deal, McGregor, of Dublin, had faced a possible 12 criminal charges related to the incident, including two felony criminal mischief charges. Those charges carried a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

“This is a fair resolution that holds the defendant accountable, ensures restitution for the victims and requires the defendant to perform community service where he can reflect on his conduct and give back to society,” the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

In April, McGregor was caught on video throwing a metal dolly into the window of a bus stationed inside the Barclays Center loading dock. The bus was carrying a group of UFC athletes and employees.

Two UFC fighters — Chiesa, a lightweight, and Borg, a flyweight — reported suffering minor injuries to authorities and were ultimately pulled from their respective bouts on a scheduled pay-per-view event on April 7.

One of McGregor’s teammates from SBG Ireland, professional MMA fighter Cian Cowley, also was arrested in April for his involvement in the attack. Cowley also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct Thursday.

The resolution of McGregor’s criminal case may clear the way for a return to the Octagon later this year.

A potential lightweight title fight between McGregor (21-3) and current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) could arguably be the biggest fight in UFC history. Nurmagomedov was on the bus that McGregor attacked and was the target of the Irish star’s actions.

McGregor has not fought in UFC since November 2016. He made his professional boxing debut in August 2017, suffering a TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather in a highly lucrative crossover event.

 

Fernando Alonso confident of bright future for McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says McLaren now knows “exactly what to do” to turn its ailing performance around.

After setting its sights on podiums and potential victories with a switch to Renault power over the winter, McLaren has underperformed in the opening eleven races of the year. The team, which has undergone a major reshuffle in recent months, uncovered an aerodynamic weakness on the car in the first few races that did not show up in the wind tunnel.

As it has set about rectifying the problem, the team’s results have tailed off as it has started devoting Friday practice sessions to understanding the lack of aero performance. Alonso says the hard work has now paid off, but it might not be until next year that McLaren can make a significant step in performance.

“I think we are working very hard and very deep into the weaknesses of the car,” he said. “First we identified them in race three/race four, in Barcelona we introduced a new package with a new nose and different things and we recovered a little bit the level. So we performed well in Barcelona and Monaco but then we came back to our original problems and lack of performance.

“After investing three or four Friday FP1s doing just aero development and aero understanding — knowing that maybe we compromised the race weekend a little and the qualifying — we have got a lot of information on those Fridays. I think now we are at the point that we know exactly what to do. There are some fixes for this year but let’s say that 70 percent of the knowledge and the understanding of the car will be for next year’s project because it requires time — three or four months development and wind tunnel time etc — that is probably better to invest for next year.

“Sometimes it’s good to go very deep into the problems and down in performance to understand the car. So I see a much clearer and brighter future now with all the problems and all the understanding now.”

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