Conor McGregor causes a stir with cageside ejection, homophobic slur at UFC Poland
The UFC lightweight champ was removed from the cage area during teammate Artem Lobov's loss
Conor McGregor made his first return to a UFC event this weekend since his August professional boxing loss to Floyd Mayweather, and there was no shortage of headlines produced by the lightweight champion's appearance.
Sitting cageside at Saturday's UFC Fight Night card in Gdansk, Poland, McGregor (21-3) was very vocal in support of his Straight Blast Gym teammate Artem Lobov, who dropped a unanimous decision to Andre Fili during their featherweight bout on the undercard.
In fact, the 29-year-old McGregor was so loud and boisterous in cheering on Lobov that Fili's corner began to complain about "The Notorious" being allowed to pace the outside of the cage while screaming instructions. Eventually, referee Marc Goddard took notice too.
With Fili in top position on the ground during Round 2, Goddard halted the action and yelled at McGregor to vacate the area.
"What's got into you man?" Goddard told McGregor. "Sit down please."
McGregor, who was not a licensed member of Lobov's corner, did not put up a fight when escorted away from the cage by security.
"The reason I interjected is because Artem gets a fourth cornerman cage side giving instruction," Goddard told MMA Fighting on Sunday. "That's not allowed. Imagine had Conor talked him through a fight-ending sequence. Then what?
"Conor was basically acting like a fourth cornerman. Walking around the cage side wherever and whenever he wanted. When Fili took down Artem, Conor was right there. That's simply not fair and not allowed. I won't have it. He can't do as he pleases."
Goddard went on to explain that if McGregor had stood up from his seat and "shouted till his hearts content," there would not have been an issue.
"That's what he's supposed to do," Goddard said. "But what he simply cannot do, what he is not allowed to do, is approach the cage at any point and as I say act as the fourth corner. That's unfair and unjust. Anyone who knows me will tell you I've done this forever, in any country in any situation. My integrity is not wavered and neither is the rules. We can't allow that. I simply had to act."
Lobov (13-14-1) dropped his second straight fight and fell to 2-4 overall since making his UFC debut in 2015 on "The Ultimate Fighter."
But McGregor's appearance turned sour after the bout when he escorted Lobov into the locker room area and was caught on camera dropping a pair of homophobic slurs while attempting to encourage his teammate.
In the past, McGregor has been vocally proactive regarding gay rights and tweeted his support about Ireland's same sex marriage referendum in 2015.
"We all deserve equal rights," McGregor said at a media day ahead of UFC 189. "We're all human here at the end of the day -- regardless of color, gender, sexuality. Any of that. It's all meaningless. We all deserve the same rights. It just feels right to me."
While UFC has yet to comment publicly about McGregor's words, the promotion released a statement in September after heavyweight Fabricio Werdum used a homophobic slur while speaking in Spanish during a verbal spat at a UFC 216 media luncheon with Tony Ferguson.
"The UFC organization is disappointed with recent comments made by Fabricio Werdum at a promotional event in Los Angeles," the statement read. "The nature and implication of his comments do not reflect UFC's views and will not be tolerated, no matter the manner in which they are used."
Werdum initially apologized for his comments on Twitter, citing differences in cultures. He also agreed to perform community outreach work within the LGBTQ community in Las Vegas as a result.
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