Following reports suggesting he's under investigation for sexual assault, mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor denied the claims through a statement issued by a representative.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that McGregor is being investigated in his native Ireland for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in December. Though he has not been charged, McGregor was arrested and questioned in January and then released as authorities continue their investigation, according to the paper, noting that in Ireland and other European countries, it is not unusual for someone to be arrested but not charged.
A spokesperson for McGregor’s legal team has since called the sexual assault reports a “rumor.”
“This story has been circulating for some time, and it is unclear why it is being reported now,” Karen Kessler told ESPN.
McGregor announced his retirement from Ultimate Fighting Championship on social media on Monday, a day before news of the alleged sexual assault case broke, leading some to speculate that the two issues were related. Kessler denied as much in her statement to ESPN, telling the outlet, “the assumption that the Conor retirement announcement today is related to this rumor is absolutely false.”
“Should Conor fight in the future, it must be in an environment where fighters are respected for their value, their skill, their hard work and their dedication to the sport,” she said.
McGregor last fought in October, in a match he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov. On the day of McGregor’s retirement announcement, he said that he was considering returning to the ring in July during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” that was taped in advance, according to ESPN.
“We’re in talks for July,” he said then. “We’ll see what happens, a lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game. But like I said, to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready.”
A spokesperson with police in Ireland would not confirm that McGregor is the subject on an investigation, according to The Times.
The 30-year-old athlete was arrested earlier this month after allegedly stealing and destroying a fan’s phone after the man tried to take a photo of him. The fan in question, 22-year-old Ahmed Abdirzak, filed a lawsuit against McGregor soon after, accusing him of battery and assault and seeking more than $15,000 in damages, according to the Associated Press.
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