Conor McGregor pleads not guilty to reduced charges; new cell phone smash video emerges
As expected, former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has pleaded not guilty to reduced charges for an alleged altercation with a fan in Miami.
McGregor, 30, wasn’t present for his arraignment today in a Miami courtroom, instead making his plea via attorney Sam Rabin.
The state attorney’s office in Miami recently downgraded McGregor’s charges to robbery by sudden snatching – a third-degree felony – and misdemeanor criminal mischief, lowering his potential punishment to a maximum of six years in prison.
McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) was after an alleged altercation with a fan outside a Miami Beach nightclub around 5 a.m. on March 11. The fan claimed the UFC star snatched and stole his phone.
New video released by the state’s attorney, and first published at TMZ.com, appears to show McGregor approaching the fan, Ahmed Abdirzak, with a hand extended only to grab the phone, step on it, and make off with the device, which was valued at $1,000.
Originally, McGregor was charged with a second-degree felony of strongarm robbery that could have netted a 20-year sentence. As MMA Junkie previously reported, the value of the phone triggered the second-degree felony charges. Court records show the phone’s listed value is now between $200 and $1,000.
The next court date is set for April 30, where the state and defense will say whether they’re ready to proceed with the case. If both sides are ready and no plea bargain has been reached, a trial is set for May 13.
Prosecutors say McGregor’s attorneys will fight to avoid a conviction that could impede the ex-champ’s ability to travel.
“A conviction for this offense qualifies as an aggravated felony,” former assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Weinstein told USA TODAY Sports. “It remains a privilege to enter the U.S. and not a right. So if there is a conviction, that will allow U.S. immigration authorities to prevent him from entering the U.S. on a visitor or work visa.”
McGregor was recently cleared in another court case, fulfilling the terms of a plea agreement for an infamous bus attack prior to UFC 223. But according to the New York Times, he is also the target of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault that took place this past December in his native Dublin.
The next octagon appearance for McGregor remains unknown. He announced his retirement to the skepticism of training partners and friends who said he simply wants a better deal with the UFC.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.