Conor McGregor isn't getting fined nearly as much as people thought, according to Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) executive director Bob Bennett.
Bennett told MMA Fighting on Saturday that the $150,000 being reported has been misinterpreted — McGregor will only be fined $75,000 for his role in an ugly water bottle-throwing fracas at a press conference in August.
The $150,000 number, Bennett said, is representative of the $75,000 fine plus what Bennett and commission chairman Anthony Marnell determined to be the value of a public-service announcement McGregor must do for the commission. McGregor was also given 50 hours of community service by the NAC on Monday at his disciplinary hearing.
Bennett said the public-service announcement was something McGregor and his attorney agreed to do. He only owes the commission $75,000 in fines, a sum that does not go to the commission directly, but to the state general fund, Bennett said.
"It appears the media and others got it wrong," Bennett said.
McGregor and his team got into a nasty skirmish with Nate Diaz and his team at the UFC 202 pre-fight press conference Aug. 17 at the Copperfield Theater inside MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Diaz and his team were leaving the event, but before they could exit the venue, egged on by a cursing McGregor, they began throwing water bottles and other foreign objects at McGregor's team, seated below them. McGregor responded himself by throwing water bottles and an energy drink can toward Diaz's team from the stage.
Diaz will go before the commission for a disciplinary hearing, likely next month.
McGregor's $75,000 fine is representative of 2 1/2 percent of his $3 million purse, which does not include his pay-per-view share and other bonuses. Diaz's purse was $2 million.
The state attorney general's office's initial recommendation was a $25,000 fine and 25 hours of community service for McGregor, but the commissioners motioned and voted for more.
The hefty commission fine drew criticism last week from fans, media, McGregor himself and even UFC president Dana White, who dubbed an $150,000 fine "insane" on Fox Sports 1. McGregor was flippant in remarks to Rolling Stone on Friday, telling the commission "good luck trying to get it" referring to the fine.
"I don't see Nevada in my future, for the foreseeable future is how I see it," McGregor said. "I'm free to do what I want."
Bennett was disappointed about the comments. He said McGregor threw an energy drink can that hit someone in the theater and still faced no criminal or civil case, nor a suspension from the commission. Bennett said the actions by McGregor and Diaz were "unacceptable" and when it happened White said himself that he was expecting commission discipline.
"They're both getting punished," White told TMZ the day after the press conference. "I mean, what everybody has gotta understand is we're overseen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I guarantee you both of these guys are gonna get massive fines and there's probably going to be a hearing, too, after the fight. There could be suspensions, community service. It's gonna be ugly."
Bennett said he spoke with McGregor before UFC 202 and appreciated him calling in for the commission meeting Monday. He said he believes McGregor was being contrite when he apologized.
"I understand that he's upset," Bennett said. "I understand that he commands a phenomenal following and paydays and he's a world-renowned champ. I get that he's frustrated — $75,000 is a lot of money. But I think the remark is inappropriate. In fairness to Conor — and I say this with the utmost respect — I just don't think he understands how the system works when he's fined."
If McGregor doesn't square up with the NAC and pay his $75,000 fine, it's possible the New York State Athletic Commission will not license him to fight against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York City, though that seems like an unlikely scenario.
The Nevada commission came under fire from the public last year when it suspended Nick Diaz five years for a third marijuana offense in the state. A settlement was agreed to months later and Diaz's ban was bumped down to 18 months.
Bennett said the commission is trying to do what it believes it is right and thinks the consistency will only increase under this current regime.
"[McGregor] wasn't suspended, nor were people in either fighter's camp that participated in this," Bennett said. "The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn't go after anybody else. ... I'll be the first to say that we've got it right sometimes and we haven't gotten it right other times. When we don't, we want to right the wrong."