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Conor McGregor’s legal team files motion to dismiss main portions of Michael Chiesa lawsuit

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor’s legal team has made a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the UFC star by fellow fighter Michael Chiesa, MMA Fighting confirmed Monday night.

In September, Chiesa sued McGregor for the infamous April bus attack in Brooklyn. Chiesa was injured when McGregor threw a dolly at a bus window, shattering the glass, and had to withdraw from his UFC 223 fight. Among the claims Chiesa made in the suit were negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.

On Nov. 30, McGregor’s attorney James M. Catterson filed a motion to dismiss parts of the suit in New York State Supreme Court, Kings County, per a court document obtained by MMA Fighting. TMZ was the first to report the news.

A key part of the motion to dismiss was the assertion from Catterson that McGregor’s attack on the bus was not targeted at Chiesa, so the injuries sustained were not intentional. Therefore, legally, Catterson writes that Chiesa cannot claim negligence or infliction of emotional distress, only battery and assault.

Also, Catterson writes that while McGregor’s actions were “unquestionably inappropriate,” they did not cross over into “outrageous” territory.

“While the conduct alleged in the complaint is unquestionably inappropriate, it does not approach the rigorous standard of outrageousness as defined by New York courts, therefore further supporting the dismissal of the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim,” said the attorney, who works for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP after a stint as a judge on New York’s state appeals court.

In addition, the attorney wrote that Chiesa’s filing did not include any specific instances of emotional distress.

“Chiesa, a seasoned combat sports fighter, fails to plead any allegations containing even a scintilla of factual specificity regarding the alleged emotional distress,” Catterson wrote. “The two emotional distress causes of action allege only that Defendants ‘caused severe emotion distress, mental trauma, and/or bodily harm to the plaintiff.’

“The complaint contains no other information supporting these alleged emotional injuries. These boilerplate, unsubstantiated allegations do not adequately plead a claim for emotional distress, and therefore Chiesa’s intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims must be dismissed.”

Catterson does not ask for the claims of assault and battery to be removed in the motion.

McGregor, the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, flew to New York from his Ireland home in April after his rival Khabib Nurmagomedov confronted and slapped McGregor’s teammate and friend Artem Lobov in the UFC 223 fighter hotel earlier in the week. McGregor and an entourage of men stormed the Barclays Center loading dock in search of Nurmagomedov. McGregor threw the dolly at the window of the bus Nurmagomedov was riding on.

Later that night, McGregor was arrested by the New York Police Department. In July, he took a plea deal, avoiding jail time and a criminal record. McGregor pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to five days of community service and one to three days of anger management evaluation. He was also required to pay restitution for the damage caused to the bus.

Chiesa and UFC fighter Ray Borg were both injured in the attack when glass sprayed onto them and had to pull out of their respective fights. Chiesa said afterward that he believes he lost out on a title shot, because he was the highest ranked lightweight on the card when Nurmagomedov, the champion, lost his opponent, Max Holloway, due to a weight-cutting issue one day before the bout.

Chiesa also named McGregor Sports and Entertainment, Barclays Center and McGregor’s cohorts in the lawsuit. McGregor Sports and Entertainment is McGregor’s promotional and media company. Catterson wrote in the motion that the court should dismiss McGregor Sports and Entertainment, because it does not fall under New York jurisdiction.

In October, Chiesa said on The MMA Hour that he and his family members have gotten nasty messages from McGregor fans since news broke about the lawsuit.

“I’m gonna tread lightly with this, obviously I can’t say a whole lot. But it just has not been good,” Chiesa said. “Even my girlfriend and my mom get messages and comments. They’re not a part of this and it’s kind of a shame when — my mom’s a sensitive lady and I do my best to protect her and stuff. And when she tells me about some of the mean things that are getting sent her way it’s really, it’s a shame.”

McGregor returned to the Octagon against Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October. Nurmagomedov won via fourth-round submission. He and Nurmagomedov are facing discipline from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) following a post-fight brawl that night in Las Vegas.

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