UFC star Conor McGregor is under investigation in his native Ireland for a sexual assault allegation, according to a New York Times report. The former featherweight and lightweight champion first made headlines on Tuesday when he abruptly took to Twitter to announce his retirement from mixed martial arts.
It remains unclear whether the timing of the investigation going public and McGregor, 30, announcing he was leaving the sport of mixed martial arts in such surprising fashion is connected in any way. Most MMA experts received the McGregor retirement news with skepticism and labeled it nothing more than a public negotiation tactic with UFC.
McGregor (21-4), who has not been charged with a crime, was accused by a woman of sexual assault in December at the Beacon Hotel in Dublin. According to the report, McGregor is an occasional guest there and last visited in at timeframe which matches up with the allegations.
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Following the release of the New York Times report on Tuesday, a spokesperson for McGregor released a statement to Ariel Helwani of ESPN in which questioned why the the news surfacing at the current time, while at the same time debunking the notion that it's in any way related to the retirement announcement earlier in the day.
Although Irish media initially reported on the case in late 2018, they were unable to name McGregor specifically due to laws in the country which restrict identifying individuals charged with rape unless they are convicted. Any news outlet falsely reporting the names of the accused individual often face libel and breach of policy lawsuits.
McGregor was initially arrested on Jan. 17, sources told the New York Times, and questioned by law enforcement before being released without charge pending further investigation. A spokesman for Ireland's police service, however, would not confirm whether McGregor was the suspect in question.
The brash superstar shattered UFC pay-per-view records en route to becoming the first simultaneous two-division champion in the promotion's history. During a two-year layoff from the Octagon, McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather in a pro boxing debut that netted him a reported $100 million and nearly broke boxing's PPV record for buys.
McGregor made his UFC return last October in a submission loss to current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov before a post-fight melee led both to be suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. McGregor was also arrested on felony charges for attacking Nurmagomedov last April in a bus filled with UFC fighters in Brooklyn, New York, just days before UFC 223.
In addition to those charges, McGregor also made headlines earlier this month in Miami, Florida, when he was arrested on felony robbery charges after allegedly stealing a man's cell phone and destroying it after the fan attempted to take a picture.