Commission president: UFC pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 219 for role in melee
Mike Mazzulli claims UFC was planning on having McGregor headline its final event of the year
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has yet to publicly face discipline for his role inin his native Dublin.
But according to the card's regulatory head Mike Mazzulli, who serves as the director of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation and the president of Association of Boxing Commission, UFC has handed out the first punishment to McGregor (21-3) behind the scenes.
Three days after McGregor leaped the cage in support of teammate Charlie Ward's victory, only to slap a Bellator official and twice shove referee Marc Goddard, Mazzulli told MMAfighting.com on Monday that UFC has pulled him from a return date at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas that had yet to be announced.
"Mr. McGregor is not bigger than MMA. We all know that," Mazzulli said on The MMA Hour. "Mr. McGregor may not be around in five years, but MMA will still be here. I think that's very important to understand that fighter safety is the most important thing in the world because without fighter safety, the sport would not proceed to the next level like it always had.
"After the event, I had some executives from UFC contact me within two hours after what occurred. They basically said to me that it was completely unacceptable in their eyes and that they will be doing something. They did inform me that he was set to be on the Dec. 30 card and he will not be on it. So I do commend UFC to some extent for doing that."
McGregor, 28,. The incident comes just weeks after for pacing around the cage and encouraging a teammate despite not being a licensed cornerman.
Sunday marks a full year since McGregor has appeared in the Octagon, dating back to his knockout victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to capture the 155-pound title. The past 12 months has seen McGregor take time off for paternity leave and take part in a his pro boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather in August, when he was stopped in 10 rounds.
One week ago, UFC president Dana White said he was expecting McGregor to return at either of the promotion's upcoming Las Vegas cards -- Dec. 30 and UFC 222 on March 3 -- but that no deal had been signed.
Mazzulli said he is speaking to his attorneys upon returning to the U.S. to figure out what type of discipline he intends to carry out for McGregor's actions.
"First of all, I'm never comfortable when somebody takes it upon themselves to act like a five-year-old and jump in the cage," Mazzulli said. "The bottom line is he was unprofessional and disrespectful. It was not acceptable in my eyes in any situation. We don't do that as a professional. Therefore, was I uncomfortable with it? I absolutely was. Was I uncomfortable with Mr. McGregor in there running around? Absolutely.
"Let me tell you this. If Mr. McGregor was licensed at Mohegan and did this at another commission overseas and was licensed for me, I would suspend him indefinitely and require for him to come to a hearing and explain himself."
McGregor leaped over the cage and tackled his teammate Ward, who had stopped fellow middleweight John Redmond with one second left in the opening round. Redmond was knocked over during the subsequent melee caused by McGregor, which Mazzulli felt left him unsafe.
"I go back to the safety of the fighter," Mazzulli said. "At the end of the day, Mr. Redmond was down, he was unconscious, he was dizzy and we were unable to provide medical attention to him because [McGregor] had to dance around that cage and assault Mr. Goddard, as well as one of the Bellator employees. That is completely and totally unacceptable. I wouldn't even allow somebody in the audience to do that.
"I'm a policy guy. I write policy, I follow policy. I don't care if you are a kid who has your first pro debut or if you are Conor McGregor. You follow policy and you follow it to the T. If you don't, you're at fault and you have the right to be sanctioned."
Asked whether he had confidence UFC will take legitimate action against McGregor, the biggest star in the sport, and stick to it, he gave credit to the promotion's initial reaction.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say UFC is going to sanction him. They already did," Mazzulli said. "They already removed him from the Dec. 30 fight, so they did hit him. He's not going to be making anymore money this year. I commend UFC for that, I really do. I don't know how many things can happen within a month and have nothing happen to him. You know what occurred in Poland. Everyone knows that. So I commend UFC and think more promoters should be proactive in something like this and have a stance."
Stephens remains a force to be reckoned with at featherweight
Jouban and Ben Saunders went toe-to-toe for over eight minutes before Jouban ended things...
All the info you need to catch UFC on Fox 28 Saturday evening in Orlando
UFC heads to Orlando with a pair of action-packed fights headlining the card
The UFC lightweight champion is making it a point to say he will be back soon
UFC looks to keep its PPV schedule rolling at the first one of the year