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Referee Marc Goddard breaks silence on Conor McGregor situation at Bellator 187

The referee at the center of the Conor McGregor craziness at Bellator 187 last Friday issued a lengthy statement Tuesday on social media.

Marc Goddard, who was shoved by McGregor in the cage following a bout between Charlie Ward and John Redmond, wrote that he had never officially ended the bout at the time that McGregor entered the fighting area. Goddard said he wasn’t able to assess the situation, because of the wildness that ensued when McGregor began celebrating with his teammate Ward.

“I was talking only to Charlie Ward at this point and you will see me put my arms between him and Conor McGregor, trying to separate and restore order to notify him to go back to his corner and continue the rest period, I was trying to communicate with Charlie Ward and then trying to tell Conor to leave, it wasn’t done yet,” Goddard wrote. “This is when Conor McGregor began firstly his verbal assault in my direction. My only thought at this point was to notify Charlie Ward, and his corner team, of my decision at the time and restore order to the fighting area. Also the condition of [John] Redmond and then subsequently bringing in the [doctor] in the rest period to make a determination. Of course the ensuing mêlée and confusion had completely prevented that from happening, that is the result of the actions of one man.”

After a couple of days of downtime and reflection I would like to offer some clarification on the events that unfolded...

Posted by Marc Goddard on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Goddard clarified that he was not approaching Ward and McGregor to eject McGregor from the cage. He was attempting to tell Ward that the fight was still going. Goddard wrote that once he was able to see Redmond, after all the confusion, he was then able to assess that the fighter could not continue, so he ruled the bout a TKO in favor of Ward.

“It is of imperative importance that this point is understood – once I know that I had stepped across and in between the fighters at 4:59 [or any time for that matter] then the fight is officially over and there is no going back,” Goddard said. “Again at this point it was categorically clear to me that Paul Redmond was indeed in no state to continue and the rightful winner was Charlie Ward. Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued.”

During the skirmish in the cage, Goddard said McGregor threatened him. McGregor also slapped a Bellator employee, Mike Johnson, attempting to get into the cage a second time after being escorted out.

“Conor McGregor was then forcefully ejected from the cage, whilst still trying to get to me and continuing his verbal tirade and threats, including “seeing me in Birmingham” [my hometown] Conor McGregor’s threats are of no concern to me,” Goddard wrote. “He then circled outside of the cage and jumped back up on the cage and when a commission official tried to get him down he struck out to him. The video presents all the evidence that is needed. People are mistakenly under the belief that they are entitled to their own opinion and I’m not really up for that train of thought however, we can argue that one, but what you’re never entitled to is your own facts – these will always remain unchanged.”

On Tuesday, McGregor released an apology regarding the incident. He wrote on Instagram that he was concerned that Goddard was going to continue the bout with Redmond in no shape to compete.

“The referee Marc Godard [sic] was making a horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round,” McGregor wrote. “Even against the wishes of the said fighters coach. The fight was over.”

ABC president Mike Mazzulli, who is also the Mohegan Sun athletic commission head, was the lead regulator for Bellator 187. He said he informed the commissions that currently license McGregor about his conduct and said the UFC told him the promotion would be pulling McGregor from UFC 219. McGregor’s agent Audie Attar told MMA Fighting that was “not true.”

Goddard wrote Tuesday that he does not want McGregor to be sanctioned for his actions.

“I do not wish for any further action to be taken against any party, in particular Conor McGregor, but ultimately that is entirely out of my hands,” Goddard wrote. “I hope that the situation can be reviewed, learned from on how we could prevent a repeat instance and then case closed, we move on for the good of the sport.”

Goddard ended his statement by addressing McGregor, who has has known for years. Goddard is from Scotland and is a longtime official on the United Kingdom scene. McGregor is from Ireland and competed in the UK and Dublin before coming to the UFC.

“I have known, witnessed and refereed Conor on many previous occasions over the years and watched, even in support of his meteoric rise, speaking publicly [sic] to commend him and offer an insight when others had turned against him. I have known Conor before he was the mega star that he is now, long before he amassed his fame and fortune – the difference being I respected him the same and treated him no different back then.

“The sport of MMA is the bigger picture here and is of my primary concern and anyone who knows me, truly knows me, will underline that. As I said on Saturday morning before leaving Dublin – I operate with integrity, belief and values – all of the time, every time.”

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