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If Conor McGregor’s hearing told us anything, it’s that NAC is still throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

First of all, if there was one word to describe Monday’s Nevada Athletic Commission hearing to deal with that rascal Conor McGregor’s part in the UFC 202 bottle-throwing shenanigans, the one that comes immediately to mind is "hahahahaha." It was funny. Not gut laughter funny, exactly, but funny in the sense of being astoundingly inappropriate, like if you stumbled upon a clown playing pool in the desert, or saw some bureaucrats shooting ice in their veins because they’d read somewhere that ice makes the eyes turn a formidable shade of blue.

You know, the kind of funny the NAC usually goes in for.

The panel watched the UFC 202 press conference video five times, the one where Nate Diaz snapped up his drink all of a sudden like and made his way for the exits at the Copperfield Theater with his Stockton, only to end up in a skirmish with McGregor that involved the lobbing of water bottles, Monster Energy tall boys and middle fingers. Even before they viewed the footage a fifth time, it was already the usual priss and pomp, a group of snoots ready to (once again) spray the fight game with sanitizer at the break of day. 

The Nevada Attorney General asked the NAC to consider giving McGregor 25 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine for his part, along with some "media training" (which in itself was laughable; he could teach the course, and charge far more than $25,000!). Pat Lundvall, whose breath was nearly visible in such icy conditions, suggested a five percent dock on his $3 million purse ($150,000) — or even 10 percent, $300,000, if we’re just throwing out numbers! Luckily chairman Anthony Marnell saw the $300,000 figure as too much, even when trying to appease an etiquette-monger like Lundvall.

They settled on five percent, 50 hours community service, and McGregor’s participation in an "anti-bully campaign" (which he can fund). Just like when they knocked Nick Diaz’s ban down to a five-year suspension, this was a whittled-down compromise to a shade below ridiculous.

(For the record, if Lundvall had her way, Diaz would be banished from fighting forever [for smoking pot] and McGregor would be coughing up two-thirds of his BMW i8. Seriously, she belongs in the Game of Thrones. Or perhaps she believes she’s in Game of Thrones. At any rate, it’s relatively easy to imagine her throwing a goblet at Peter Dinklage).

See, now this is where it gets funnier still. The NAC wants athletes like McGregor to be "humbled" and "taught a lesson" for doing what he did. If McGregor were as humble as the NAC is asking him to be, he wouldn’t be making $3,000,000, and they wouldn’t be smacking their lips at his percentages. McGregor is who he is because he is who he is, and nobody understands the dynamics of the fight game — from what it is we want from it, to how to deliver — better than him. Should he have tossed bottles? Probably not, but in a game of shoulds and should nots, McGregor excels at making them feel just about the same. You don’t want fighters crossing the line? Crossing the line is what distinguishes fighting from arguments.

Fighting can’t do away with its rogue element, and it's difficult to refine chaos when chaos is a chief component of the game. It would be nice if the NAC had a more realistic grasp of just the kind of terrain it’s dealing in.

The problem is the NAC doesn’t fundamentally understand…well, anything. Not so long ago the commissioners took turns genuflecting for Floyd Mayweather, who is in far more need of being "humbled" and "taught a lesson" than McGregor. If McGregor had said he wanted to fight Mayweather while on the phone, Lundvall might have asked for his execution then and there. Why is everything so arbitrary with the NAC?

That’s a damn good question. There’s no rhyme or reason for most of it. Most the time these hearings feel like a groping process, everyone squeezing each other’s biceps to figure out how much punishment they can get by with ladling out (depending on mood, signs of contrition, and effective groveling).

It was funny, as they always are. When the tape played again and again, with McGregor’s voice yelling at Diaz and his camp — "You’ll do nuttin! Not one of you's will do nuttin! Get the f*ck outta here. Get the f*ck outta here!" — it was tempting to believe he was speaking directly to the NAC.

He wasn’t, of course, but he might as well have been.

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