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The day Conor McGregor attacked the bus: How those who were there remember it

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Conor McGregor wreaks havoc at UFC 223 media day (0:29)

Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor stormed Barclays Center with his entourage on Thursday, appearing to damage a vehicle containing UFC fighters. (0:29)

The Brooklyn bus attack. It sounds like the title of a blockbuster action crime movie, and in a way, it is. When Conor McGregor showed up at Barclays Center just after the conclusion of a UFC 223 media day on April 5, looking to confront one of that weekend's main event fighters, we had the makings of a drama. When the Irishman threw a steel dolly through the window of a bus carrying the fighter he was targeting, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, as well as several other fighters and UFC staff -- some of whom were injured in the attack -- there was the crime.

Now McGregor and Nurmagomedov will take their beef inside the Octagon. How did the UFC get from Conor's dolly vs. Khabib's bus to a 155-pound title fight between the current champion and former titleholder?

The genesis of the notorious drama came when Artem Lobov, a friend and training partner of McGregor's, spoke to reporters in his native Russia and was critical of Nurmagomedov. "Khabib pulled out six times already. He always pulls out of fights," Lobov said in Russian, according to a translation on MMAimports.com. "If something hurts a little bit, his a-- or whatever, he pulls out. He can't even make weight. He doesn't give a s--- about his fans, that everyone flew from Russia -- even getting a visa is a pain, and travel expenses -- all in order to see him, and he doesn't show up. And it's not once, not two, three or four times.

"Who is chicken here? Who is afraid? Conor shows up every time no matter what. He's a true fighter. He's a true champion. Champion isn't just a belt around your waist. It's mentality, it's your heart. Conor is a real champion, and Khabib is not even close. Did you see Conor pulling out of a fight even once? Everyone has injuries, everyone has problems making weight, but one is a champion and shows up no matter what, and the other one is a coward who pulls out every time."

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1:36

Dana White calls McGregor incident 'most disgusting thing' in UFC history

Dana White voices strong displeasure after an ugly incident at UFC 223 media day, in which Conor McGregor and his entourage attacked a bus, injuring several people at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Nurmagomedov heard about that interview. On the Tuesday of fight week, with Lobov in New York to compete on Khabib's undercard, the two happened to see each other at the fighters hotel. There was a verbal confrontation in Russian, captured and translated in an MMAfocus.com video.

Nurmagomedov: "Don't say my name, you understand me? You got it or not? I'm asking you. Say it to my face. You said I'm a p---y? Did you?"

Lobov: "I didn't say that."

Nurmagomedov (his hand holding Lobov by the back of the neck): "How you didn't say? Say it to my face. You said I'm a p---y, didn't you?"

Lobov: "I didn't say this."

Nurmagomedov: "How you didn't say? Don't say such things anymore." (Then Nurmagomedov appeared to slap Lobov on the back of his head before walking away.)

Word of this confrontation reached McGregor in Ireland and a group of friends jumped on a private plane headed to New York. They showed up at Barclays Center shortly after the UFC 223 media day ended. The arena doors were locked, but they were let in the building, allegedly, by employees of a McGregor-owned website.

Dana White, speaking to reporters immediately after the incident: "What happened here today is Conor and approximately 20 guys were apparently let in through the doors by the Mac Life guys, who were credentialed here. They opened the doors for them through an entrance, and they stormed the building. They got down to the loading docks, where the fighters were getting on the buses [to return to the fighter hotel], and they started to attack the buses."

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White questioning doing business with McGregor

Dana White says he is disgusted with Conor McGregor after Thursday's incident at a UFC 223 media event.

Felice Herrig, UFC strawweight who was at Barclays to promote her fight with Karolina Kowalkiewicz, speaking to TMZ: "There's two fighter buses taking us back from media day from the Barclays Center, and all I hear is ruckus and big bangs. It was like garbage cans being thrown and the railing thrown ... and everyone's like, 'That's Conor. That's Conor. That's Conor and his whole team.' And they're raiding the buses, throwing garbage cans, throwing railings at [the other bus]. And I don't know why."

Max Holloway, UFC featherweight champion who was scheduled to fight Nurmagomedov that weekend, speaking to Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour": "We were on the other bus. I didn't even know it was Conor. People were yelling, 'It's Conor! It's Conor!' And I was like, 'I don't see him.' When we saw the video, the guy who was running around and stuff was Conor. I was watching him do the crazy stuff. I was like, 'Oh, man, that's pretty nuts.' Imagine if they did show up to the media event. I think it would have been even more wild."

Al Iaquinta, UFC lightweight who was on the bus with Nurmagomedov and ended up fighting him in the weekend's main event after Holloway was pulled from the bout, speaking to Helwani on "The MMA Hour": "Everyone was freaking out. That was insane. No one knew what was going on. Everyone was, 'What the heck is this? What are we under attack from?' And then we saw Conor running, and we were like, 'Oh ... all right.' So I whipped out my phone, and I just started filming him."

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White: McGregor 'not apologetic' for attacking bus

Dana White joins Get Up! as he denies that Conor McGregor's outburst was a stunt and calls it "embarrassing for the sport."

White, to reporters: "They broke one of the windows and cut Michael Chiesa really badly. He cut his head. He cut his face. Rose Namajunas was apparently almost hit. She's super upset right now and basically left to walk back to the hotel."

Namajunas, UFC strawweight champion who was preparing for her co-main event fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, speaking to the media: "The chair nearly came at my window. Thankfully to the bus driver, he was on point. He was backing up the bus as it came to my window, and it ended up hitting Michael Chiesa in the head instead, unfortunately. So thanks, Michael [laughs]."

Chiesa, who was cut on the head by shattered glass, speaking to the Los Angeles Times: "It was just crazy, man. It was just a crazy situation to be involuntarily involved in."

Ray Borg, who was seated next to Chiesa and had glass go into his eye, speaking to Helwani on "The MMA Hour": "I wiped my eyes, and the glass went right onto my face. My eye was a little irritated, but I didn't really think much of it. And it wasn't until later that day that the small shards and particles of glass that were on my cornea were what really caused the irritation."

White: "They hurt one of our employees, broke one of our employee's knuckles."

Reed Harris, vice president of athlete development for the UFC who is seen in videos trying to stop the attack, via Twitter (post has since been deleted but was captured here): "At hospital with one of my coworkers. Possible broken hand due to attack by Conor and his gang of thugs. I got cut and showered with glass. We thought we were gonna die. ... When the hand truck [entered through] window and hit Chiesa in the head and he started gushing blood, yes, I thought we were in big trouble. ... I've been in dozens of scuffles in UFC. Never once was I scared. This time was different."

Nurmagomedov, speaking this week to ESPN's Brett Okamoto: "People who [were] with me in bus, like Chiesa, Iaquinta, girls like Namajunas and other girls like Kowalkiewicz, Ilir Latifi -- I remember everybody -- a lot of people with me in bus, and they know how quickly this happened and how many guys [were] between us, how many guys don't let me go out. Everybody hold me. You can ask these guys what happened when [McGregor and his cohorts] come. I feel relaxed. I'm laughing."

Holloway: "I don't think he really meant to break the bus [window] with the dolly. I think that he was shocked that he broke it because when I was watching, he actually picked up a metal trashcan, and he put it down, and he grabbed a plastic trashcan, and he threw that instead. That was after he threw the dolly. He was running with the barricade -- he knows he was going to get stopped with the barricade."

Namajunas: "It shook me up because I didn't know how far it was going to escalate. All the guys inside, they wanted to fight back, and they wanted to go jump out of the bus. But I don't know if they're going to open the door, all come in. They're obviously not directly after me, but I'm just caught in this scenario.

"My imagination goes crazy. After all the things I've been through in the past, I know that anybody can have a knife or a gun. We don't know. So I jumped to the negative pretty quickly. There were a lot of thoughts going into this fight, but I'm just grateful to be in one piece and to be happy, healthy and safe."

Chiesa: "When the dust settled, I went back to the hotel, started cutting weight and going through the process to compete. And then they pulled the plug."

Borg: "I personally didn't even want to get looked at by a doctor, but as I was trying to get on with my weight cut, my eye just started killing me, and I was advised to go see a doctor and get checked out. ... He looks in my eye and tells me it looks like I have some corneal abrasions, maybe iritis, because I was kind of sensitive to light. So as I get to the hospital, they admit me, and they didn't just look at my eye and say, 'Oh, yeah, your eye looks a little messed up. You can't fight.' They ran a whole [gamut of tests]. They did it twice just to double-check to make sure. I had them do it twice. They said I had multiple corneal abrasions, which was causing the irritation and a little bit of the blurriness that I was seeing."

Chiesa's fight with Anthony Pettis and Borg's bout with Brandon Moreno were canceled because of their injuries, and the UFC scrapped Lobov's fight with Alex Caceres because of the Russian's involvement in the incident. (Chiesa later filed a civil lawsuit against McGregor, alleging "serious personal, economic and other injury.")

Namajunas, asked if she considered pulling out of her fight, speaking to reporters after Saturday's event: "Yeah, I did. But I think a lot of times leading up to many fights, I think that. I'll doubt myself or I'll question myself. But the voice was strong this time."

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Namajunas says McGregor's apology wasn't 'real'

Rose Namajunas joins Ariel Helwani to talk about the message she received reportedly from Conor McGregor about April's Barclays incident.

White, to reporters on the scene: "Obviously, everybody is shaken up. When 30 thugs storm a building when these guys were all cutting weight and getting ready for a fight. This is the most disgusting thing that's happened in the history of the company."

McGregor and his crew fled the scene after the attack, but he and his SBG teammate Cian Cowley turned themselves in to police that night. McGregor was charged with three counts of felony assault and one count of criminal mischief, and a court hearing was set for June 14.

McGregor, following his June 14 appearance in Kings County Criminal Court, to reporters outside the courthouse: "I regret my actions that led me here today. I understand the seriousness of this matter, and I'm hopeful to get it resolved soon."

Namajunas, revealing that she received an apologetic Instagram message from McGregor, speaking to ESPN's Helwani: "I didn't really, I guess, consider it a real apology. It said, 'I'm sorry for what happened' ... but then he immediately went on to justifying what he did and stuff like that and the reasons why he did it. ... I don't care what beef he's got with who. That's none of my business. ... So there was an apology, and I'm a pretty cool person, and I always accept apologies, but to me, I'm like a personal person, I like face to face. That's how I like to handle things. ... Yeah, I said 'F--- that.' I said call Pat [Barry, her husband]. I just put Pat's phone number and said, 'F--- that, to whatever your message is, and call him.'"

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McGregor thankful to be able to move forward

Conor McGregor briefly addresses the media and crowd after agreeing to a plea deal in his assault case.

Chiesa, told that McGregor reached out to another fighter impacted by the attack, speaking to the Los Angeles Times: "I haven't heard from him, so f--- him. Brooklyn was a f---ing heartbreaker, to say the least. ... I lost a title shot. I have proof. I was the highest-ranked guy on the card. I would have stepped in to fight Khabib at the drop of a dime [after Holloway was pulled from the main event]. I've always loved the fight with Khabib. Bless his heart, he's a cool-ass guy, but this is a sport, and I've always liked the way I matched up against him. And I got f---ed out of that opportunity. You work your whole life for those kinds of opportunities."

On July 26, McGregor agreed to a plea deal in which all felony counts were dismissed. He pled guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and was compelled to put in five days of community service, undergo an anger management evaluation and pay restitution for damages he inflicted.

McGregor, following the court appearance, speaking outside the courthouse: "I just want to say I'm thankful to the D.A. and the judge for allowing me to move forward. I want to say to my friends, my family, my fans: Thank you for supporting me."

Then came last week's UFC 229 news conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

McGregor, speaking to the media: "If that bus door had opened, this man would be dead right now. He would be in a box, and I would be in a cell."

Nurmagomedov, speaking this week to ESPN's Brett Okamoto: "I tried to go out [from the bus], and then I understand: He come with 30 people, with camera, you know? If you come to fight with someone, why you need camera? For show?"