RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Conor McGregor returned to the cage earlier this month, and it was a controversial decision.
The UFC lightweight champion wasn’t defending his belt or competing in a superfight of any kind, he just climbed the fence and entered the Bellator 187 cage to celebrate what he thought was Charlie Ward’s win over John Redmond on Nov. 10 in Dublin, Ireland.
McGregor had an altercation with referee Marc Goddard in the cage, and later released an statement apologizing to everyone involved — except Goddard. The referee released a statement on the situation shortly after.
Days after the controversial situation in Dublin, McGregor's longtime rival Jose Aldo weighed in on the situation. Speaking with reporters during a media day at Nova Uniao on Monday, the former UFC champion defended the Irishman.
“I haven’t seen the video, but I heard about it,” Aldo said. “I think it’s normal. He’s an emotional guy, and when an Irishman is fighting the Irish people embrace them a lot. I don’t condemn him.
“He didn’t do that for attention, he’s done that before. When we did The Ultimate Fighter, an athlete from his team won and he went up there and in there, he even tore his pants. He’s really emotional, and I don’t condemn him for what he’s done.”
Aldo, who admits to have done the same thing in the past, thinks the criticism McGregor has received since that incident is unfair.
“How many times have I invaded the Shooto (cage) when someone close to me is fighting?” Aldo said. “I really go there. The referee talks to me, but I still do it. I think it’s the heat of the moment, but there are bigger things than just the rules.”
It’s still unclear whether or not McGregor will face any punishment for his actions.