Conor McGregor fined, avoids jail for hitting man at bar

Conor McGregor pleaded guilty and was fined €1,000 ($1,116.16) on Friday for an April incident in which he punched a man in the face at an Ireland bar.

McGregor, the former UFC two-division champion, appeared in Dublin District Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to punching the man at the Marble Arch Pub in Dublin on April 6.

Judge Treasa Kelly said jail time would be inappropriate in this case. It was added in court that McGregor has 18 previous convictions, including several for speeding and one for an assault in 2009.

Michael Staines, McGregor's legal representative, asked the court to give McGregor "one last chance" and said a criminal conviction could lead to a refusal of a visa to the United States and create "very severe difficulties" for McGregor's career.

According to court testimony, McGregor was at the bar in April to promote his Proper 12 whiskey. The CCTV footage of the incident, which was played in court, shows McGregor slamming a shot glass in front of the man before punching him with a closed fist.

Jason O'Carroll of the Irish national police (the Garda) said McGregor took a glass and asked the man to do a shot of whiskey. The man declined, leading to McGregor's reaction.

"I assure you nothing of this nature will happen again regarding me," McGregor told the court.

The court was told McGregor has personally apologized to the man and compensated him financially. The man, who did not appear in court, signed a letter saying he did not want to make a victim impact statement, according to reports.

"I was in the wrong," McGregor said in an August interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani. "That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did. ... I tried to make amends, and I made amends back then. But it doesn't matter. I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility.

"I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That's not who I am. That's not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario."

McGregor, 31, has not fought since a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. He has not won a UFC fight since he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC lightweight champion in November 2016.

During this layoff from the Octagon, McGregor has been saddled with legal issues, including two separate reports from the New York Times regarding sexual assault investigations in Ireland. McGregor, via his team, has denied those allegations.

Last week, McGregor announced at a news conference in Russia that he'd be returning to the UFC on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas. He did not name an opponent, though Donald Cerrone has indicated he is a top candidate.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.